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Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, November 06, 2013
From the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the mystery around the Unnao gold rush has reached the door of the Geological Survey of India (GSI). The GSI report that became the basis for the ASI authorities to start the gold hunt in Unnao district is a tampered version of the original one, which had no mention of any metal, according to sources.

Experts of the GSI’s geophysics division told HT the original report, sent to the government after a survey at the site on October 3 and 4, had suggested there could be conductive material beneath the earth near the fort ruins on the banks of the river Ganga.

The conductive material, they said, could be a mixture of clay and brine (water with a high concentration of salt), which is commonly found on the banks of rivers.

“The report that we sent did not mention the presence of any metal ... We did not even recommend excavation at the site,” a GSI official said. The ASI resumed the excavation on Tuesday. Work began on October 18.

He also said that superintending geophysicist SK Mishra, who led a 12-member team at the site, has been struggling in his efforts to convince the higher officials that his team’s report has been modified. He has even informed about the ‘different’ reports to Lok Nath Singh, who heads the geophysics division of GSI in Lucknow.

In sharp contrast, the preliminary GSI investigations on October 8, cited by Archeological Survey of India( ASI) mentioned “prominent non-magnetic anomalous zone,” that indicated possible non-conducting metallic contents or alloys at 5-20 meters below the surface and suggested excavation.

“On the basis of the report it was decided by ASI to undertake excavations to try to determine the nature of the reported deposits,” the ministry statement had claimed.

Talking to HT, the senior GSI official reiterated that the original report, sent to the government after a survey at the site on October 3 and 4, had only suggested the presence of conductive material under the earth near the fort ruins on the banks of the Ganga.

He added that the report “was modified for sure after it was sent from Lucknow office”. From the Lucknow office, as is the norm, the report was sent to the Kolkata-based headquarters of GSI from where it was forwarded to the Union ministry of mines, the GSI’s parent ministry.

He added that even the Ground Penetrating Radar Survey (GPRS), as mentioned in the final report already in public domain, was not carried out at the site as the apparatus for the technique was with some other scientist of the division on an official tour to Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir).

“Our report only mentioned conductive material,” said A Sundaramoorthy, former GSI director-general who retired on October 31. However, the new GSI director-general, SC Rath, when contacted by HT, refused to comment.