Friday, February 8, 2008

Kidney scamster Amit Kumar tried to bribe Nepali cops: Report

Indian fugitive Amit Kumar, who had been hiding in Nepal since last month after his illegal kidney transplant racket was busted, tried to bribe Nepali policemen into letting him go when he was arrested from a forest lodge, a report said on Friday.

Kumar, who was carrying a small fortune in foreign currencies and a draft when he was arrested Thursday, told policemen he would pay them Rs 2 million if they let him go, the Himalayan Times daily reported.

The wanted man, for whose arrest the Interpol had sounded a red alert, was carrying a bank draft made out to himself for Indian Rs 936,000. He was also carrying 145,000 euros (about $215,000) and $18,900.

After informers alerted police that Kumar could have checked into the Wildlife Lodge in Chitwan National Park on Thursday, a police team went there and arrested him from the lobby.

Kumar was wearing a hat and sunglasses and made no attempt to conceal his identity.

He also told police during the first interrogation in the Chitwan police station that he had come to the Terai district to open a kidney transplant centre there.

Kidney transplants are currently not performed by any Nepal hospital due to legal complexities.

Though the law says an offender can be punished with a jail term of more than 10 years, in the past, Nepali touts found duping illiterate and poor villagers into parting with a kidney for sums as low as Nepali Rs 15,000 (about $235) were either let off with a prison sentence of three years and a fine of Rs 25,000 or released on bail.