Kathmandu: Before he was caught, handcuffed and thrown into a police cell, Indian kidney racket kingpin Amit Kumar Raut lived life kingsize thanks to the nearly 200 per cent profit he gained per illegal transplant, according to his reported admission to Nepal Police.
He also denied links with the underworld or doing anything illegal.
"I am a doctor by profession," the unshaken 43-year-old, who holds a diploma in ayurveda and is not a qualified doctor, told the police after being arrested from a holiday resort in south Nepal on Thursday.
"I did people a service (through the transplants). I ran the Star Max Life Care Hospital in Gurgaon in India's Haryana state," Amit Kumar told police in his statement, a news report said on Saturday. "Transplanting kidneys is my main business. I have been doing this for 15 years," he said.
According to Nepali tabloid Naya Patrika, Amit Kumar told the Metropolitan Police's crime division that patients from the US, Canada and European countries used to come to his clinic for transplants.
"I have conducted about 3,000 transplants for patients from these countries," Amit Kumar reportedly told the police.
He said there were legal complications in kidney transplants with strict laws in several states.
"In Haryana, the laws are slightly more lenient, which is why I opened my hospital there," he reportedly said.
Amit Kumar is said to have told police that he would charge each recipient Rs 300,000-400,000 for a transplant.
"The poor and unemployed in India are interested in donating their kidneys," the tabloid quoted him as saying to the police. "I used to pay the donors Rs 25,000 to Rs 100,000."
However, Amit Kumar insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
"I did not force anyone to donate their kidneys," he said. "I did not dupe anyone. The kidneys were extracted with the consent of the donors. Therefore, it was not a crime."
"The sellers were poor Indians and buyers rich foreigners. I acted as the go-between and did people a service. I took money only after offering my services, it can't be construed as robbery."
Amit Kumar rejected the allegations that he had links with the underworld.
"At times I have also worked without profit to transplant poor and unemployed donors' kidneys."
Kumar blamed the Indian media for his plight.
"After the media targeted me, the Moradabad authorities filed a case against me in Uttar Pardesh state," he alleged.
Asked why he was on the run if he had not done anything wrong, Amit Kumar said he was not running away but trying to defend himself.