Indian gang selling highly radioactive Uranium busted


Reports from India disclosed that a nuclear mafia gang has been unearthed in Mumbai (the mother city of India’s nuclear plans and research) and two persons had been arrested for acquiring “natural-uranium” worth more than Rs 21 crore.

The arrested gang members of nuclear smuggling case were identified by local media as Jigar Jayesh Pandya and Abu Tahir Afzal Hussain Choudhary.

Local Police had reportedly received a tip that “that a person who was going to illegally sell pieces of Uranium substance: which resulted in the arrest of the prime leader of the gang, Jigar Jayesh Pandya.

According to the report the seized substance of Natural Uranium is about 7 kg and 100 gms and it is worth Rs 21.30 crore.

The Mumbai Mirror claimed in a report that “during the interrogation, Pandya revealed that the pieces of Uranium were given to him by a person named Abu Tahir in Mankhurd (Mumbai).”

The officers immediately rushed to Kurla Scrab Association and arrested Abu Tahir.

The substance was sent to BARC, Trombay for analysis and officials were quoted as saying that that “BARC termed the substance as Natural Uranium which is highly radioactive and dangerous.” A case under Atomic Energy Act, 1962, has been registered against them.

According to a published report, India sees the large-scale use of radiological sources in the medical and commercial sectors, therefore making these materials easily available.

This increases the risk of possible theft, fraudulent procurement, and even accidental discovery of orphan materials in scrap markets among other places.

On September 5, 2018, the Indian newspaper Business-Standard reported that Indian ranked 19 in the “theft ranking’ for countries with weapons usable nuclear materials.

The newspaper quoted a report in US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative as saying that “India’s nuclear security conditions are adversely affected by the continued increase of weapons-usable nuclear materials, the large number of sites where those materials are located, corruption challenges, and the judgment that groups interested in and capable of illicitly acquiring nuclear materials are present in the country.”

According to international-media reports in 2018 India reported 25 cases of ‘missing’ or ‘stolen’ radio-active material.

Fifty-two percent of the cases were attributed to theft and 48pc to the mystery.

Taiwanese authorities too intercepted a ship, carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea.

In 2009, a nuclear reactor employee in southwest India deliberately poisoned dozens of his colleagues with a radioactive isotope, taking advantage of numerous gaps in plant security.—PPA


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