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13.4 kg uranium seized in India

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Indian police have seized 13.4 kilograms of uranium in less than four weeks, according to Indian media reports.

On Thursday police in the eastern state of Jharkhand in Bokaro district arrested seven people and seized 6.4 kilograms of uranium from their possession, marking the second time in less than a month that authorities have captured a large quantity of the radioactive material from unauthorized persons in the country.

On May 6, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested two persons with 7 kg of natural uranium.

It was the third time in India that such a highly radioactive substance was seized by police in recent years. In 2016, police seized almost 9 kg of depleted uranium in the Thane area of Maharashtra.

On June 3, seven people were arrested in Jharkhand for possessing and planning to sell a mineral, which is suspected to be uranium after we received a tip. "We are further investigating the case and the mineral [has been] sent to the lab to check its veracity," police was quoted by the Indian Express.

According to the Times of India, the suspects suspected to be part of a national gang involved in illegal uranium trade were searching for customers and had fixed its price at 5 million Indian Rupees. The report added that two of the men arrested have a criminal history.

It is unclear how they got their hands on the radioactive material, the Indian Express said, adding:

According to the court records and the FIR, a senior police officer in Bokaro received a 'tip' on June 2 that 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 FIR registered in the Harla Police Station stated, "Seeing police Deepak Mahato and others, who were discussing something, started dispersing. They were caught by force after the area was cordoned. They said that they all were in touch with one Baapi Chandra, who had uranium with him, and that they had gathered in order to find prospective buyers. All smartphones from these five have been seized."

It added that two independent witnesses were also called during this raid. The records stated that apart from mobile phones, no other materials were seized from these five.

Court records state that 'help was sought' from the five arrested after which police nabbed Baapi Chandra near Vaibhav Hotel at 3.30 pm with 'one plastic rubber packet', which contained a 'sample of prohibited uranium mineral'. At Chandra's instance one Anil Singh was nabbed who had 6.4 kg of 'mineral uranium' from his possession.

The Times of India reported on May 6, Two people with seven kg of natural uranium worth Rs 21 crore have been arrested by the Nagpada unit of Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorist Squad in Mumbai.

According to the agency, information about the accused Jigar Pandya, a resident of Thane was received that he was going to sell pieces of uranium.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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