LAHORE: Suspects involved in the illegal kidney transplant case, arrested from Peer Mahal in Toba Tek Singh, were not doctors and had fake degrees to their names.
This was disclosed by Crime Cell Corporate Deputy Director Chaudhry Sarfaraz, Assistant Director Chuadhry Ijaz and Inspector Hassan Saeed during a press briefing held at the FIA office in Lahore.
One of the suspects, Kashif Riaz, who is at large, was reportedly a relative (nephew) of former Punjab governor and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chuadhry leader Muhammad Sarwar. Another suspect, Shahzad, who was arrested from the crime scene, was illiterate. He was also involved in kidney transplantation.
Shahzad told the police that he was related to suspect Kashif Riaz who was accused of the case after police obtained information after his conversation with one Shahid Rasheed.
Sarfaraz said Dr Shahid Rasheed, one of the suspects, worked in a private capacity at the Lahore General Hospital. His birth name was Sadarulddin, a resident of Kharhak Singh village in Dipalpur. When he learnt of a doctor named Shahid Rasheed, he had his name changed through a bogus registration. He managed to obtain a CNIC from NADRA against his new identity and began impersonating the doctor, while also having his name registered with PMDC. However, he was not a qualified surgeon by any means.
Another suspect, Muhammad Shahzad, who was reportedly caught red-handed during the raid, initially claimed he was an electrician. On further interrogation, he disclosed that he was also illiterate and was posing as a doctor. He confessed to carrying out illegal transplantation.
Kashif, Chaudhry Ijaz, on the other hand, claimed his degree was registered with PMDC. However, whether it was fake or original could only be ascertained once he was arrested and the document was in hand.
Chaudhry Sarfaraz said the suspects introduced themselves as doctors and also had visiting cards, but their degrees were fake. “They are not doctors,” he stressed. He added law enforcers arrested seven suspects altogether who were under physical remand, but the gang itself was far more deep-rooted. “They are involved in organised crime,” he continued.
The deputy director stated that the modus operandi of the suspects was extremely risky. “They would trap donors through agents, give them a few pennies for their kidneys and earn millions by transplanting the same organs into foreigners.
He said the suspects would set up temporary operations theatres in smaller cities like Chung, Kamalia and Samundri to perform transplants.
Kashif, the suspect at large and a resident of Peer Mahal, had initially conducted 10 illegal kidney transplantations at Ibrahim Riazullah Welfare Trust. Then he developed differences with his partner Dr Naveed. The suspect later rented a house in Peer Mahal and set up an illegal operation theatre and purchased surgical equipment from Neela Gumbad in Lahore. He also established a hospital-like environment at his illegitimate facility.
Talking about the gang, Sarfraz said that ring-leader was Dr Naveed, an absconder who fled abroad.
A murder FIR was registered against them at the Chung Police Station. “The suspects were very brutal as well. They transplanted organs even if the tissues of the donor and recipient failed to match. In one case, a patient lost his life.”
He stated that the suspects operated in a cunning manner. Giving an example, the deputy director recalled that suspects were communicating in a secure manner. “They held a belief that the FIA arrested suspects through mobile data. None of the phone confiscated from the detained men were registered against their name.
Chaudhry Ijaz said that they were investigating the matter further and trying to determine whether the EMI Johar Town case and this matter were related. However, he asserted that details could not be established till further investigations.
The officers concluded that the Punjab chief minister had established a committee, under the supervision of additional IG Asghar Hussain, to investigate the case.