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No material to show accused intended to misuse uranium: Mumbai court

Jigar Pandya and Abu Tahir were booked under provisions of the Atomic Energy Act for allegedly trying to illegally sell uranium online for around Rs 21 crore.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
August 9, 2021 1:16:00 am
The NIA filed a chargesheet alleging that the two men were searching for buyers online to sell uranium knowing its value.

IN ITS detailed order granting bail to two men arrested allegedly for possession of uranium in May, a special court said there was no material to show that the accused intended to misuse the radioactive substance for explosives or antisocial activities.

Jigar Pandya and Abu Tahir were booked under provisions of the Atomic Energy Act for allegedly trying to illegally sell uranium online for around Rs 21 crore. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had taken over the probe in the case from the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in May.

Tahir had submitted that seven years ago his father, who is a scrap dealer, had bought industrial scrap from a factory. The scrap included uranium which he was not aware of and had kept aside to make a hammer due to its weight.

“SPP (Special Public Prosecutor) has tried to argue on the assumption of probable misuse of prescribed substance uranium for explosives or antisocial activities. But such an assumption is not based upon the entire prosecution case. Moreover, none of the prosecution witnesses or any other material reveals that same was the intention of the present applicant as per said assumption. Therefore, no prima facie case in that regard is evident,” the special court, which granted them bail recently, said.

The NIA filed a chargesheet alleging that the two men were searching for buyers online to sell uranium knowing its value.

Apart from statements, including that of Tahir’s father, the NIA had said that evidence showed that they had browsed the Internet to find sellers.

Uranium can be used in nuclear power plants, counterweights in aircraft and industrial machinery as well as radiation shields in medical equipment.

The ATS had claimed that based on a tip-off a dummy customer was sent by the state agency after which the substance was seized and tested at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

The court took into consideration that the maximum punishment for the offence was five years and the accused are “well-educated youth”.

It also said that the trial will take time to complete due to the number of prosecution witnesses to be examined.

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