Authorities in India arrested a Malaysian man who has been accused of sneaking a human embryo into Mumbai and might be part of a possible smuggling ring.
The embryo was reportedly discovered Saturday inside a special nitrogen-packed canister that was hidden in Partiban Durai's suitcase at the Mumbai airport, according to the Indian Express. Durai reportedly claimed that he had transported embryos into India on multiple occasions.
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials told the Indian Express that the man might be involved in a possible embryo smuggling ring.
Malaysia doesn't allow surrogacy under Islamic law, but IVF experts told the Indian Express that the embryos may be feeding the India's surrogacy market for foreigners or Indian couples who want a child with non-Indian looks.
What are the details?
Durai allegedly told police that he had made at least seven or more similar trips to India over the past 18 months.
The man allegedly led authorities to the Indo Nippon IVF clinic in Bandra where he claimed he was to deliver the embryo.
DRI investigator Rebecca Gonsalves told the news outlet that text messages found on the suspect's phone backed up his story.
Investigators told the Indian Express that the agency had "searched the office premises of the IVF center and recovered incriminating documents related to the smuggling of embryos."
Embryologist Dr. Goral Gandhi, who runs the clinic, has denied being involved in the incident.
"The petitioner does not import embryos as part of her business," lawyer Sujoy Kantawalla said Monday in court.
Kantawalla suggested that the whole thing is part of a conspiracy against the high-end specialty clinic.
Importing embryos into India without a permit from the Indian Council of Medical Research is illegal.
Gandhi has been ordered to appear in court on Friday, according to reports.