New Delhi: Amit Kumar, the alleged kingpin of an international kidney racket that came to light in 2008, has been put on trial by a Delhi court for allegedly violating foreign exchange act and stashing black money abroad.
District Judge P S Teji paved the way for the trial of Amit Kumar by framing charges against him saying the Enforcement Directorate has brought sufficient material to show that properties acquired by him were the proceeds of crime, kidney transplant racket, as defined under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PML) Act.
"A prima facie charge under section 3 punishable under section 4 of PML Act is made out against accused Amit Kumar. Accordingly, charges under sections of PML Act against accused Amit Kumar framed...," the court said.
It framed charges under the PML Act after Amit, who is lodged in Ambala Jail, pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
It said there is material on record to show that Amit along with his other associates was actively involved in illegal kidney transplantation and he was running a hospital where the surgeries were carried out.
"The complainant/Directorate of Enforcement has brought sufficient material on record to show that Amit along with his other associates was actively involved in illegal kidney transplantation. It has also been shown that he was running a hospital where illegal kidney transplantation was being carried out and he used to carry out surgeries along with his associates," the judge said.
The multi-crore rupee scandal had surfaced in January 2008 when police had arrested several people for running a kidney transplant racket in Gurgaon. Amit was arrested in Nepal in February 2008.
The ED, in its charge sheet filed through Special Public Prosecutor Naveen K Matta, has said that Amit and his accomplices used to charge Rs 12 to 15 lakh on average from the native organ recipients and USD 25,000 to USD 30,000 from foreign clients. The ED accused them of stashing an undisclosed amount in foreign banks.
The court has also framed charges against other accused, Amit`s brother Jeevan Kumar, his three aides Raghuvinder Singh, Rajiv Chanana and Sanjay Gupta for the same offences.
Alleging that a substantial portion of illegally earned money of accused has been invested in movable and immovable properties abroad, the ED has said that it has also managed to attach their properties in Australia in June last year.
ED said Amit along with Jeevan Kumar hatched a criminal conspiracy with other accomplices and by alluring innocent poor people, they fraudulently removed their kidneys through surgical operations which were given to recipients for a huge monetary consideration.
Framing charges against Amit, the court said there was prima facie evidence that he used to perform illegal kidney surgeries on the victims arranged by his associates.
"It has also been shown that accused was not a qualified surgeon to carry out such surgeries. It has also been shown that by his said illegal activities, accused committed scheduled offences as mentioned in PML Act and the properties acquired by him are the proceeds of crime as defined under section 2(u) of PML Act," the judge said.
The court refused to accept the contention of Amit`s counsel that he should be discharged in the case as he cannot be tried and punished twice for the same offences.
The counsel had argued that a charge sheet against Amit has already been filed in Ambala court under the provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act and the IPC whereas in the present case, he was also being tried with relation to similar offences.
"There is no force in the contention of the counsel for accused as offences of the present case are different than the case pending in Ambala court.... In the present case Amit has been sent to face trial for acquiring movable and immovable assets as proceeds of crime committed under Transplantation of Human Organs Act and for offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code," the judge said.
The court would begin recording of prosecution evidence from May 23, the next date of hearing.