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Fresh Cobalt 60 alarm

A non-resident Indian from the United States has written a letter to regulatory bodies in India about several pencils of Cobalt 60 — a source of radiation — lying unattended at a factory in the industrial town of Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, around 55 kilometres from Delhi.

delhi Updated: May 03, 2010 23:47 IST
Vijaita Singh

A non-resident Indian (NRI) from the United States has written a letter to regulatory bodies in India about several pencils of Cobalt 60 — a source of radiation — lying unattended at a factory in the industrial town of Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, around 55 kilometres from Delhi.

The pencils are similar to the ones that were auctioned by Delhi University (DU) to a scrapdealer in Mayapuri, leading to one death and injury to seven others due to exposure to prolonged radiation.

Anuj Kumar Mittal, a businessman from North Carolina in the US, has reportedly lodged a first information report (FIR) against his business partners, accusing them of cheating him of Rs 4 crore on the pretext of setting up a “food irradiator plant”.

“There is a threat to the food irradiator plant as only few security guards are deployed there,” said Mittal on phone from the US. “A few days ago some people tried to barge into the premises and tried to damage the building.”

Mittal lodged a case on April 29 at Mukherjee Nagar police station in northwest Delhi with the help of his lawyers here.

“When I had come to Delhi in 2007, I was given a proposal to set up a gamma radiation unit. I accepted the proposal and invested money. For the next three years, one of my business partners whom I have known for 35 years, started siphoning money from our joint account. He was paying his son’s educational fees and also on his lifestyle from my money,” Mittal alleged.

Mittal said that on Saturday he wrote an e-mail to both Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) apprising them about the Cobalt-60 pencils.

“I was conned into investing money on this plant. This is a huge health and security issue,” said Mittal. He claimed that plant was set up after getting a clearance from BARC and other regulatory bodies.

When contacted the Naresh Kumar Goyal told HT, “Security is not an issue at the plant and we have already submitted our replies to the investigating officer. There is a problem between the business partners and it can be sorted out.”

A department of atomic energy officer said they will look into the case. Police said they were investigating the case.