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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Inquiry into 'beggar amputations'
John Sudworth
BBC News, Delhi

A beggar woman in Mumbai
Criminal gangs organise amputations of beggars
The Indian Medical Association has launched a probe after three doctors were shown on television offering to amputate beggars' limbs for money.

The secret filming apparently shows one senior doctor offering to perform the operation for the equivalent of $200.

There have long been rumours that criminal gangs pay for the amputation as beggars are able to generate more sympathy and make more money.

The police say they will investigate the allegations.


One of the surgeons, who works in a government hospital on the outskirts of Delhi, is seen examining a street beggar, and offering to amputate his leg.

...If it is true it is one of the most shocking things in the history of medical practise in India and I think needs to be condemned outright.
Sanjiv Malik, National President, IMA
"Where do you want to cut it?" he is heard asking on the secret recording. "From anywhere," the beggar replies.

The doctor suggests amputation below the knee to make it easier to fit an artificial limb.

He says he will induce gangrene by restricting the flow of blood so that the operation appears to be necessary, and he asks for 10,000 rupees, about $200.

Two other senior doctors are also alleged to have offered to perform similar operations for cash.

National president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Sanjiv Malik, is calling for an urgent investigation.

"An opportunity should be given to the doctors to explain their case," he told the BBC.

"But if it is true it is one of the most shocking things in the history of medical practice in India and I think needs to be condemned outright."

After the report was broadcast an angry crowd gathered outside one of the doctors' homes in Delhi.

The police say they have asked for copies of the broadcast.

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