Doctors Offer To Maim Beggars In TV Sting

Reuters, August 1, 2006

New Delhi—Three Indian doctors caught on camera apparently agreeing to amputate the healthy limbs of beggars are to be questioned by the Indian Medical Council, an official said Tuesday.

Secretly filmed footage taken by the CNN-IBN news channel and broadcast Saturday showed one of the doctors asking for 10,000 rupees (about $215) to amputate a lower leg, leaving a stump that may draw sympathySecretly filmed footage taken by the CNN-IBN news channel and broadcast Saturday showed one of the doctors asking for 10,000 rupees (about $215) to amputate a lower leg, leaving a stump that may draw sympathy—and a few rupees—from passersby.

He then suggests chopping off three fingers from the man’s left hand.

Police said one of the three doctors had been questioned and denied the allegations, but that no arrests had been made.

The doctor, from Ghaziabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and a satellite town of the capital, New Delhi, explains how he can stitch up blood vessels in a healthy limb, causing it to blacken with gangrene over a few days.

A prospective beggar can be booked into the doctor’s claiming to have had an accident, and then have the amputation carried out without raising eyebrows, he explains.

“Believe me if there are two beggars in front of you and one of them is lame, you will give the money to the lame beggar,” the station recorded him as saying in Hindi.

Dr Indrajit Ray, who chairs the Medical Council of India’s ethics committee, said the three doctors would be summoned to appear before the committee later this month but was unable to say whether they were registered with the council.

If found guilty, they would almost certainly be permanently banned from practicing in India, he said.

“This is a very painful situation for me as a member of the medical profession,” he said. “This is most uncivilized and butcher-like activity. It cannot be supported under any circumstances.”

The TV station sent a “fake beggar” along to see the doctor at his Ghaziabad clinic after hearing he offered the amputations. Their meeting was secretly filmed.

CNN-IBN said it was trying to expose the activities of a country-wide network of “beggar mafia dons” who exploit the destitute, forcing beggars working in their patch to hand over their alms, and maiming them to maximize revenue.

A beggar in New Delhi told the channel he had been tricked into going for a medical check-up on the promise of a job. He came round after an injection to find one of his legs missing.

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