Kidnapped, fed and fattened for blood

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By TAPAS CHAKRABORTY in Lucknow
  • Published 16.03.08
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Lucknow, March 16: Police have arrested a gang in Gorakhpur that held poor labourers hostage, extracted their blood every other day and sold it to private clinics.

Officers said doctors and nursing homes were involved in the racket, as they were in the kidney transplant scams unearthed recently in Noida and Gurgaon.

“The victims were either kidnapped or lured with promises of jobs and held in the house of Pappu Yadav, a local muscleman,” said D.K. Chaudhary, superintendent of police, Gorakhpur.

“They were treated well and served nutritious food. Every morning, hired pathologists would arrive to collect their blood.”

A police raid netted five gang members and freed 15 hostages last night, but failed to find Pappu or the gang’s leaders. Two units of blood and a large number of empty pouches were seized from the house off Ramnagar Bypass in the Fatima Nagar locality.

“The arrested men have confessed they used to transport the blood to nursing homes,” said investigating officer Deepak Srivastava.

Probodh Rai, a day labourer, said he had been kidnapped from Jaunpur district.

“At first I thought the gang would ask my family for ransom but nothing of the sort happened. They would just draw my blood on alternate days,” Rai said.

The police suspect that the racket has been going on for a year but the 15 hostages had been in the house just for a few days or weeks. The gang probably freed its victims — shutting their mouths with threats or small payments — after a few weeks since it isn’t possible to keep drawing blood from a person for too long, officers said.

Doctors said even a fairly healthy hostage would fall severely ill after about seven extractions, if done every other day.

All the hostages were adult males, the healthiest population group in poverty-stricken eastern Uttar Pradesh where most women tend to be anaemic.

Basti resident Sitaram Pal was trapped with the lure of a job on Thursday. “I was given good food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the evening, a doctor checked my blood pressure,” he said.

“I suspected nothing till my blood was drawn on Friday morning. I was told I would not be allowed to meet anyone for a week.”

The police were alerted by a casual remark by one of the men who supplied food to the house. He said a hospital was being run from Pappu’s house where patients were being treated secretly for some strange disease.

“We smelt a rat and raided the house. Investigations are on and action will be taken against the nursing homes that used blood supplied by the gang,” SP Chaudhary said.