Linchpin of Iran-based organ smuggling racket nabbed in Hyderabad

Bellamkonda Ram Prasad aka Prathapan (41). Photo: Special arrangement.

Kochi: The Kerala Police on Saturday apprehended a key member of the Iran-based organ smuggling network in Hyderabad. The arrest was made by a special team of the Kerala Police.
The arrested is Bellamkonda Ram Prasad aka Prathapan (41), a native of Vijayawada. He was nabbed by the special investigation team headed by Ernakulam district police chief (rural) Vaibhav Saxena.

Preliminary investigation has found that he had facilitated many kidney transplants. Most of his victims were villagers. The organ donation and transplant happened in Iran, the police said.
Prathapan contacted the organ donation gang first to sell his kidney. However, the plan did not work out as he had some medical conditions. Then he started working with the gang, finding his way up the network gradually.

Prathapan sends potential organ sellers to Iran where the rest of the operations were managed by Sabith Nasar who has already been arrested by the police. 

It was Sabith's statement that led the cops to Hyderabad. Sabith Nasar, who was previously detained in connection with the case, had stated that the operation of the group facilitating the smuggling of individuals to Iran for organ donation was centred in Hyderabad.

Sabith was connected to the organ trafficking network through an individual in Hyderabad, identified as the coordinator of trafficking operations. Sabith revealed that he became involved in this illicit trade after selling his own kidney in 2019 after realising the potential for profit and subsequently seeking out victims. Acting on this revelation, the investigation expanded to Hyderabad under the supervision of the Aluva DySP.

Sabith had confessed to authorities that the majority of organ traffickers hailed from Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Since 2019, a group including Sabith has been transporting individuals from various parts of the country to Iran for organ trade. He was an important link in an international organ smuggling ring spanning across Sri Lanka, Kuwait, and Iran.

Transfer of individuals was facilitated using forged passports and Aadhaar cards and surgeries were performed in private hospitals of Iran. The gang targeted economically disadvantaged individuals. Organ donors were reportedly compensated up to Rs 6 lakh, with the group amassing more than one million rupees from their operations.

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