Despite claims by Indian authorities that up to six Sri Lankan doctors were involved in an international kidney racket, authorities in Sri Lanka are still waiting for more information from India over the accusations.
Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told journalists on Thursday that Indian police had forwarded a detailed report on the six Sri Lankan doctors alleged to be involved to Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID). He said the Health Ministry has also requested a copy of the report from the CID.
However, when contacted on Friday (January 22), Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said the CID was yet to receive such a report. He said the CID would initiate a probe once such a report is handed over to it, but added the matter would be referred to the Attorney General’s Department for further instructions if there was insufficient evidence to take action.
Indian police last week filed cases against six Sri Lankan doctors, accusing them of conducting paid kidney transplant surgeries, which is illegal. It is alleged that the doctors performed as many as 60 kidney transplants involving Indian nationals after ‘agents’ in India facilitated the operations to be conducted. Indian police claim that the surgeries were performed at four private hospitals in Sri Lanka. Several of these agents, including the racket’s alleged kingpin, are now under arrest in India.
The revelations prompted the Health Ministry to order an immediate suspension of kidney transplant surgeries performed on foreigners. The ministry also appointed a special committee, which includes the Director of Private Hospital Development Unit, Dr. Kanthi Ariyaratne to probe the claims.
When contacted, an official at the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) said the information available to them so far was not enough to initiate a formal investigation on its part. “We have received some names of medical practitioners who are said to be involved. However, the names are incomplete and we have written to the relevant private hospitals seeking more information,” the official said.
However, the official noted the SLMC had not initiated a probe as the information available to them at present was insufficient to do so.
Meanwhile, issuing a statement on Friday, the Private Hospitals Association stated all organ transplant surgeries come under the purview of the Human Tissue Act of 1987. “As such, the hospitals comply with rigorous regulatory and legal procedures as established by the Ministry of Health. All such surgeries are authorized by the Ministry of Health prior to surgery. All member hospitals abide by this procedure,” the statement stressed.