Five persons, including four members of a family, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a kidney sale case in Kandhamal district.

Crime Branch Additional Director General BK Sharma on Friday said the arrested persons are Mahendra Pattnaik (42), the recipient, his wife Sulata Pattnaik (38), elder brother Rajendra Pattnaik (56), brother-in-law Kiran Kumar Pattnaik (37), all from Ganjam district, and Trinath Mohanty (53), a middleman from Phulbani town.

Kanhu Behera, the organ donor from Kandhamal, had undergone an operation for kidney transplant at a hospital in Sri Lanka, showing him as an adopted son of Mahendra’s mother, Sharma said.

During investigation, the Crime Branch found that Kanhu’s surname was also changed to Pattnaik from Behera through an affidavit.

On June 13, a case was registered at the Town police station in Phulbani on the basis of reports from sub-collector and SDPO. Afterwards, the state government handed over the probe to the Crime Branch.

Sharma said the Pattnaiks had initially planned to take a kidney from Kanhu’s father Baruna Behera but it was not suitable for the recipient. "They then contacted his son Kanhu who sold one of his two kidneys to Mahendra for Rs 3.5 lakh," Sharma said.

Kanhu was first taken to Chennai for the operation but several hospitals refused. The accused then took him to a hospital in Colombo on March 19 where the doctors removed one of his kidneys and transplanted it in Mahendra’s body. All of them returned from Sri Lanka on April 4, Sharma said.

The ADG said the five persons were arrested under sections 18, 19, 20, 21 of Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act and 467, 468, 471, 474, 120 (B) of IPC.