Tuesday, January 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

SIT hunts for Dr Sareenís aides
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, January 13
Officials of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) are silent on the identity of the MLA and other senior politicians, extending patronage to the prime accused in the kidney sale scam. The ruling party MLAs of Amritsar sought the intervention of the Chief Minister for revealing their names.

Meanwhile, the SIT made a number of raids in the city to nab the associates of Dr P.K. Sareen, kidney transplant surgeon and prime accused in the case, Mr S.K Sharma, IG (Jalandhar Zone) who heads the SIT, said records, pertaining to organ transplants at the local Kakkar hospital and his clinic were seized. Mr Sharma said that during investigations, Dr Sareen had reportedly admitted that he had given Rs 10 lakh to an MLA during his (MLAs) election campaign. However, the allegations are yet to be ascertained. Mr Sharma said before revealing the name of the MLA or any other politician, the source of money had to be verified.

The Congress MLAs, Dr Raj Kumar, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedar, and Mayor of the Corporation, Mr Sunil Dutti, in a joint statement claimed that no ruling party MLA was involved in the kidney sale scam. They, however, urged Captain Amarinder Singh to direct the members of SIT to reveal the name of the politicians who had links with the accused. Mr Satya Pal Dung, a senior CPI leader said that the Chief Minister must ensure that the names of the politicians, including ministers and MLAs should be made public to expose the nexus.

The IG, Mr Sharma, said that investigation revealed beyond doubt that a well organised nexus was operating in the state. He said the associates of Dr Sareen had gone underground to evade arrest. He said the SIT was also investigating the role of a pharmacist brother of Dr Sareen who allegedly used to fleece the patients. He said the team was also after Dr Jain and Mr Kulwinder Singh, a computer operator of Dr Sareen who used to feed affidavits and other data pertaining to the kidney transplant operations. He said the SIT would reveal more names after collecting sufficient evidence against them to break the nexus. He said it was on the basis of such evidence that the court had allowed sufficient remand of Dr Sareen and Dr Mahajan.

The Indian Medical Association, Amritsar chapter, in a resolution today served 24-hour ultimatum on the district administration to release Dr O.P. Mahajan, Principal Medical College and Dr P.K. Sareen by 5 p.m. tomorrow. The Amritsar chapter of the IMA has authorised the state unit to take further action in case if the government failed to release the doctors.

Hoshiarpur (OC): Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab has criticised the statement of Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a former BJP MLA, and Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader, alleging that he had reprimanded the police for interfering in the clearing of cases pertaining to kidney transplants and had also directed the authorisation committee to clear the pending cases regarding kidney transplants.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Dogra refuted the allegations. He said during his recent visit to Amritsar for the inauguration of a hospital, mediapersons had apprised him of the kidney transplant scam. He then called the SP concerned and directed him to investigate the matter thoroughly. On being apprised by the SP that he was already on the job and the authorisation committee was not making proper enquiries about the genuineness of the donors, he told the SP that a police officer of the rank of SP should be part of the authorisation committee to ascertain the genuineness of the donors.

He urged doctors not to go on strike in this regard.

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