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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Material seized in Bokaro not uranium and not radioactive: MEA

The MEA's statement was a response to Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s remarks for a probe into ‘seizure of nuclear material’ after reports emerged from Bokaro about ‘uranium material.’.

Written by Abhishek Angad | Bokaro |
Updated: June 11, 2021 12:12:09 pm
Jharkhand Police’s Spokesperson Amol Homkar said: “More details are awaited.”

Days after Bokaro Police in Jharkhand arrested seven persons for ‘possessing and planning to sell mineral uranium’, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the ‘seized material was not uranium and not radioactive’. The MEA’s statement was a response to Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s remarks for a probe into ‘seizure of nuclear material’ after reports emerged from Bokaro about ‘uranium material’.

The Indian Express reported last week that the Bokaro police had seized 6.4 kg of ‘uranium mineral’ from two of the accused, and arrested a total of seven persons. The accused were booked under IPC Sections 414 (Whoever voluntarily assists in concealing or disposing of or making away with property which he knows or has reason to believe to be stolen property), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and under various sections of Atomic Energy Act.

However, on seizure of ‘suspected mineral uranium’, the MEA Spokesperson said: “The Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, after due evaluation and laboratory analysis of the material sample has stated that the material seized last week is not uranium and not radioactive.”

When asked how police arrested seven persons and also issued a press release stating the seizure of mineral uranium, Jharkhand Police’s Spokesperson Amol Homkar said: “More details are awaited.”

Calls made to Bokaro Superintendent of Police Chandan Jha did not elicit any response.

However, after the arrests initially, Jha had said: “Seven persons have been arrested based on their confession statements of possessing mineral uranium.” Jha had refused to comment on whether any other investigating agency was involved and also did not comment on whether they sought custodial interrogation of the arrested accused.

The Indian Express had obtained court records, where the Bokaro police had maintained that after receiving a ‘tip’ on June 2 five people: Deepak Mahato, Pankaj Kumar, Mahabir Mahato, M Sharma, Krishna Kant had ‘gathered together’ and were planning to ‘illegally sell prohibited mineral uranium in the black market’.

The police were informed that ‘if they nab the five people, the mineral will be recovered and the operation may be revealed’, the records stated. The police had then arrested two more accused and 6.4 kg of ‘mineral uranium’ from the possession of the one accused persons. Harla Police Station In-charge Govind Prasad Gupta had told The Indian Express then: “All seven were arrested on June 3 morning. We are yet to arrest Munna from whom Anil and Baapi procured the uranium.”

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