Husband steals wife’s kidney - and she didn’t even know it
IT all seemed normal enough.
Rita Sarkar felt a spearing pain in her abdomen.
She thought it may be appendicitis.
So Rita, of West Bengal, asked her husband to take her to a doctor.
Biswajit Sarkar, a cloth merchant, eagerly agreed.
He took her some distance to a clinic in Kolkata. There, medical staff told her she needed an urgent appendectomy.
Rita went under the knife the next day.
But then her husband began to behave a little odd.
PRISONER OF PAIN
"My husband warned me not to disclose the surgery in Kolkata to anyone," Rita told the Hindustan Times.
He kept her confined to her house for several months after the procedure.
But her health did not improve.
Her pain was getting worse.
For 18 months, she pleaded with her husband to be taken to a doctor again.
Strangely, he refused.
Then, about three months ago, her family spirited the 28-year-old away to a local medical clinic.
An ultrasound showed her right kidney was gone.
And her remaining left kidney was infected.
"I was shattered," Sarkar told the Telegraph.
Rita was convinced her husband had sold her kidney to make up a shortfall in her family's ability to pay a full dowry.
"Now, I understand why he forbade me to reveal anything," she told the New Indian Express. "He and his family tortured me during the past 12 years of marriage for dowry and when my family failed to meet their demands, they sold my kidney."
Dowries have been banned in India since 1961.
So she complained to police.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
On Monday, her husband and her brother-in-law, Shyamal Sarkar, were arrested and charged with human organ trafficking.
West Bengal police say Biswajit has confessed to selling the kidney to a businessman - though he claims his wife signed a document of consent.
An underground kidney trafficking network is believed to still be operating in India - involving about 2000 kidneys each year - despite major raids on the industry in 2008 and 2016. Buyers are believed to include people in Canada, Greece, the Middle East and the United States.