Five Mumbai doctors, including chief executive officer of LH Hiranandani Hospital Dr Sujit Chatterjee, were arrested on Tuesday evening for their alleged involvement in a kidney racket. The Mumbai police and Maharashtra’s health department said they had also identified two other kidney sale cases involving the Powai hospital, and are investigating those separately.

The police received a tip-off about a possible sale at the hospital on July 15. Surat resident Brijkishore Jaiswal, an end-stage kidney failure patient, was supposedly receiving a donor organ from one Shobha Thakur from Gujarat. However, Thakur was put down as his wife, Rekha Devi, and was to sell her kidney in exchange for Rs 3 lakh. The Mumbai police identified the mastermind behind the racket as Bhijendra Bisen alias Sandeep, who allegedly lured poor residents from Gujarat to sell their kidneys.

A three-member committee was instituted by Maharashtra’s health department to inquire into the role the hospital and its doctors played in the racket. “Some doctor has to be involved,” Dr Gauri Rathod, a member of the committee had told in an earlier interview.

The committee found urologist Dr Mukesh Shah and nephrologist Dr Mukesh Shete guilty of negligence. According to them, both Shah and Shete had failed to follow the requisite steps laid down by the law to check for such irregularities. For instance, Shah in his statement to the committee said that he had not seen the patient and donor before the surgery – something the committee members said was “grossly incorrect”.

The committee submitted its report to the Mumbai police on Tuesday, based on which the arrests were made, Mumbai Police Spokesperson Ashok Dudhe told “The doctors' direct role in the racket is still under investigation,” said another police official. The hospital’s medical director, Dr Anurag Naik and a junior surgeon Dr Prakash Shetty were the remaining two named in the case.

The arrests have been made under section 12 and section 21 of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, the law governing organ transplants in India for their supervisory failure and negligence. The sale of organs is illegal under the Act.