Officials of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday arrested two persons, a day after a report by BARC revealed that the suspicious metal the duo was found in possession of in February was natural uranium – a highly radioactive substance.
Following an FIR under sections of the Atomic Energy Act, the two men were produced before a court that remanded them in the custody of the ATS till May 12.
An officer said they were trying to find out how the accused, two highly qualified men, procured the uranium, the use of which is restricted, and whom was it meant for.
The 7.1 kg uranium is said to be worth Rs 21.30 crore.
On February 21, the Nagpada unit of ATS, led by inspector Santosh Bhalekar, received a tip-off about a person, identified as Thane-resident Jigar Pandya, planning to sell some uranium. The cops laid a trap for Pandya and detained him. During questioning, the name of Abu Tahir, a Mankhurd resident, emerged, the police said.
The ATS team then reached the Kurla Scrap Association in Mankhurd, where Tahir’s godown is located, and detained him. On searching his godown, they found more uranium which was seized and sent to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Trombay for analysis, the police said.
Earlier this week, the centre sent back a report stating that the substance was natural uranium, which is highly radioactive and poses danger to human life.
The element is used for radiation in some medical techniques and as a counterbalance weight in airplanes, among other things.
In 2016, Thane police had arrested two persons with 9 kg of diluted uranium.