“If a person mysteriously disappears from his/her locality and returns home after a week, definitely he or she will have surgical scar near the abdomen,” said Shankarappa (name changed), a poultry seller at a locality in Magadi taluk.

Incidents of people mysteriously disappearing and returning with scars are common in tiny hamlets and tandas in Magadi taluk, said Mr. Shankarappa, who himself sold his kidney about four years ago. “It’s all about the money. The brokers involved in the racket know ‘to bend’ the officials to run the kidney racket.”

These touts run the racket with the connivance of officials from the Police, Food and Civil Supplies and Health departments, he said.

Residents told this reporter on Friday that the agents target impoverished nomadic communities. A man, who confessed to having sold a kidney in 2004, estimated that hundreds in Magadi taluk alone have sold their kidneys.

The agents have established a well-oiled racket over the past decade and a half, which involves greasing the right official palms in the taluk, residents alleged.

‘Epicentre of racket’

“Though Magadi taluk is not a health hub and doesn’t have state-of-the-art hospitals, it is the epicentre of the racket in the State,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.

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