Open offers for selling kidneys on social media have baffled the medical fraternity and law-enforcers alike, especially at a time when such rackets have been busted at notable hospitals in Mumbai, Akola, Gurgaon and the Anand district of Gujarat.
The state human organ transplant unit recently stumbled upon certain Facebook pages like ‘I want to sell my kidney’, and has decided to liaise with the cyber-crime cell to get to the heart of the malaise.
State human organ transplant unit head and assistant director (health services), Maharashtra, Gauri Rathod said, “When we came across the pages, the initial impression was of people trying to play mischief, nevertheless, it cannot be ignored as it involves a sensitive topic like kidney and its donation. It is also clear that many people were posting such messages out of very little awareness about organ donation. Besides, we also came across people luring donors into a scam by showing them huge money.”
Rathod observed that while some people had responded to such advertisements driven by the need to finance their own higher education, it is an illegal act, a violation of which could land the gullible in prison. “While we are still reeling from the recent bust, this is yet another major scam. Social media is quite powerful and it can be misused like this.
To further control such illegal activities, we will write a letter to the police’s cyber-crime branch as they should be aware how social media is being used for vile acts,” she said. “In fact, they should have been the first to have informed us about this activity and verify the facts. However, we will coordinate with them now to get to the root of this ‘misuse’. Offenders must be taught a lesson.”
One of the senior officials in the state health department, requesting anonymity, said, “It is nothing short of alarming to see people using such sites to sell off their organs. It is equally sad to see certain hospitals promoting this. Following the recent countrywide busts, we have now been discussing raiding hospitals and paying surprise visits to cross-check and verify the documents the surgeons possess. They charge around Rs 25-50 lakh for every transplant, so they can certainly verify the documents as well rather than blame the investigating authorities. Hospitals now have to come clean.”
When escalated to the chief minister’s office, principal secretary Pravinsinh Pardeshi said, “We will take this up in the department, where the involvement of the cybercrime cell too can be discussed to nip scams on social media.” Later, CM Devendra Fadnavis responded to our text message, saying: “We will take strict action against such offenders and violators.”
Another highly placed source at the CM’s office said, “Since there is no helpline to clear issues and discuss lacunae of the law, we are thinking of coming up with a helpline where only doctors and kidney donors can be connected rather than people who run illegal activities and lure hospitals and donors into business. There are many who can afford the transplant and are rich but most of the times fly to Sri Lanka and other countries with their Indian doctors. Kidney or organ transplant can be made transparent if the law and implementing authorities focus on stopping commercialisation and being more vigilant than only looking for registrations or waiting lists.”
D K Sakore, deputy commissioner of police, economic offences wing and cyber-crime cell, Pune, said, “We will appeal to all the citizens to notify us on email@example.com if they come across any such incriminating page or comment on kidney or selling of any organ so that further investigations can be ordered. However, it is not easy to find offenders promoting selling of organs on social media, but it can be done with better software and technical teams.”
Via : indiatimes
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