Gaurav Gogoi, Congress MP from Assam and deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, has in a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged the involvement of a reputed Kolkata-based hospital in an inter-State kidney racket. Gogoi alleged that according to newspaper reports “all activities” happened at the premier hospital in the city.
In his letter, dated July 15, Gogoi said, “I am writing this letter to bring your kind notice the heinous incidents of kidney removal. As per media reports from different corners of Assam, several people have been victimised by the human organ trafficking racket. As per villagers’ statement, the racket targeted villagers who were under financial distress under the pretext of paying them about 3-4 lakh rupees in exchange of kidney. The links of the racket have been traced to Kolkata.” According to the letter, the name of the premier Kolkata-based hospital came up in the report of an “established newspaper”. He appealed the Chief Minister to “instruct the police to initiate an enquiry and verify the substance of these media allegations”.
Speaking to Frontline Gogoi said, “We had heard reports of poor people being encouraged to sell their kidneys and when our MP visited the place in Morigaon district, we got to know that all the victims are being sent to Kolkata. In our local media reports, the name of this particular hospital has come up. We have met the Governor of Assam and have asked for a CBI probe, as it has come to our notice that in other districts also the poor are being lured and exploited to sell off their organs in an illicit manner. They are being taken to Calcutta [Kolkata] and being put up there for five to six months. We feel that this is a very serious issue and the masterminds of this racket should be exposed.”
Though the racket has recently been discovered, according to Gogoi, it has been going on for four-five years, and at least 30-34 families have fallen victim to the racket. “This seems to have been conducted in a very organised manner. We have received news that there is a similar racket taking place in Dibrugarh district, which is very far from Morigaon, in which as many families have been affected. We are not certain about the numbers yet, but clearly there is a pattern,” Gogoi told Frontline .
Taking a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre, Gogoi said “The economic policies of the Centre are pushing people to crippling poverty. They are now being exploited by middle-men. The lack of employment is the main reason behind the rise of such crime, and that is because the BJP at the Centre has done nothing for employment generation.”