Court finds no proof that trading in the organs took place

In a major setback to the city police, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday discharged the doctors from all the charges in the infamous 1995 Bangalore kidney racket case.

Justice V. Jagannathan passed the order allowing the petitions filed by four doctors, who had challenged the charges framed by the 4th Additional City Civil and Sessions Court, Bangalore, against them for “stealing kidneys” from the patients and “conspiring” in this regard.

The doctors

Those who have been discharged from all the charges by the High Court are Dr. K.S. Siddaraju, then nephrologist at Victoria Hospital, Dr. Syed Adil Ahmed, Dr. Dilip Patil and Dr. Dilip C. Dhanpal, all private consultants now. It was alleged that these doctors were conducting kidney transplantations at a private hospital. The court also discharged from all charges, Mohammed Yosuf and Mohammed Haneef, who were also accused in the case.

The court found no evidence to proceed against them as it found no proof to prima facie establish the doctors were involved in trading of kidneys. Though the court found there were records to show that 75 tests were conducted on kidney donors and recipients, there was no material to show that the doctors were involved in kidney trade.

The charges

The Commercial Street Police had charged these doctors under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, like Sections 379 (theft), 120 (conspiracy), 326 (causing grievous hurt), 327 (causing hurt to constrain illegal act), and 406 (breach of trust) among other charges.

The police action was initiated based on a complaint from Velu, a construction labourer hailing from Tamil Nadu, in 1995. He had alleged that one of his kidneys had been removed without his knowledge when he had been to the private hospital to donate blood. Subsequently, a few others too had lodged complaints which resulted in arrest of these doctors.

However, the trial court dropped most of these charges as alleged by the police. The trial court, in its October 19, 2005 order, had framed charges against the doctors only under the Sections 379 and 120 of the Indian Penal Code.

No proof

While the doctors had moved the High Court against the framing of charges, the State challenged dropping of other charges by the trial court. The High Court, in its Tuesday order, allowed the pleas of the doctors and dismissed the pleas of the prosecution while holding that there is no material for conducting trial against the doctors.