Dr Horror pleads innocence, will be tried for foreign exchange cri

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Kathmandu, Feb 8 (UNI) Expected to be initially tried only for violating foreign exchange rules in Nepal, the mastermind behind the multi-crore kidney racket-- Dr Amit Kumar today claimed he was innocent and has not duped anyone.

The Nepal police today said it will lodge three cases against the kidney scam kingpin even as Indian authorities expressed the hope that he would be handed over to them at the earliest.

Dr Kumar-- widely called Dr Horror by the media-- was arrested with a close aide Manish Singh from a Sauraha-based hotel in Chitwan district about 60 km from the Indian border town of Raxaul. Rs 9,36,000 in Indian currency, 1,45,000 euros and 18,900 US dollars were seized from the Indian doctor's possession.

Cases will be filed against Dr Kumar on Sunday after carrying out necessary procedures for the charges relating to human organ transplant and the Interpol red-corner notice against him, chief of Metropolitan Police Crime Division SSP Upendra Kant Aryal told newspersons at Ranipokhari.

The SSP said Dr Kumar has confessed to having conducted more than 300 kidney transplants in India.

Dr Kumar claimed he had come to Nepal with the aim of establishing a hotel. He was being kept at Hanumandhoka police station.

An External Affairs Ministry spokesman in New Delhi said, ''The matter has been taken up by the CBI with the Government of Nepal through our Embassy in Kathmandu.'' Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters in New Delhi that even though the extradition treaty between India and Nepal has not been renewed, there should not be any problem in getting the kingpin extradited.

The CBI confirmed that it had information about the arrest of someone matching the Indian doctor's description in Nepal.

''However, we have yet to receive a formal confirmation on the matter,'' CBI Director Vijay Shankar told the media this morning in New Delhi.

''We have not got a formal confirmation from Kathmandu that the one arrested is Amit Kumar, the kidney racket kingpin, but yes informally we have some reports that one person related to the kidney scam has been caught in Nepal.'' ''We are pursuing the case in close proximity with Interpol Nepal and the Indian embassy there to verify Amit's identity and seek cooperation in getting him here.'' Ramesh Thapa, Bishnu Khatri, Giri dai, Heera Pun, Baburam, Sher Bahadur and Pankaj Jha-- all Nepalese-- have also been arrested for having alleged links to the kidney racket kingpin.

Dr Amit had been staying in different luxurious hotels in Nepal ever since his arrival here on on January 26, the police said.

According to police Kumar stayed at Hotel Radisson in Lazimpat till January 29. He then stayed in luxurious hotels in Thamel till February 5 and left for Chitwan by taxi, from where he was eventually caught last evening.

The Indian doctor confessed that he was looking for sites to establish hospitals in Nepal through an agent Pankaj Jha, who is now absconding.

Describing human organ racket as a ''foul and reprehensible'' crime, the Congress today asked the government to provide more teeth to the Human Organs Transplantation Act and implement it strictly to act as a deterrent against a crime in which the ignorance and poverty of the poor were exploited.

''The government should take a fresh look at the act passed in 1984. It is high time that the law was redrafted with greater teeth to ensure that its implementation is absolutely rigid,'' AICC spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told mediapersons in the first reaction of the party after the Haryana police uncovered the multi-crore kidney racket having international links last week.

Dr Kumar is the the mastermind behind an international racket in illegal kidney transplants, in operation for several years and whose network spread across at least five states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana besides Nepal.


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