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Missing nuclear scientist's body found

india Updated: Jun 14, 2009 09:50 IST

Ending the mystery over the disappearance of the Kaiga nuclear power plant scientist, N Mahalingam, naval divers today recovered his body from the Kali river, six days after he went missing.

Naval divers fished out the body of Mahalingam, the scientific officer at the plant, who was reported missing during a morning walk on June 8, from the river flowing near the Kaiga township, police said.

Police said they are investigating whether Mahalingam had drowned or there was any foul play. With no breakthrough in cracking the mystery over the disappearance of Mahalingam, authorities had today sought the assistance of a five-member team of divers from the Naval base at Karwar, Seabird, to carry out the search operations.

Intelligence officials along with CISF and local police had intensified the search operations to locate the scientific officer in the Kaiga generating station of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) associated with its training department.

The navy divers were pressed into service after the search by the local divers was of no avail, Karwar Superintendent of Police R Gupta said.

Personnel drawn from the CISF, district police and forest department had also intensified their joint operation and were combing the Kaiga forest before the body was found in the river.

The Kaiga nuclear power plant authorities have identified the body of Mahalingam, police said adding that his family members have also confirmed the body belonged to the scientist.

Local divers had searched a stretch of 35 to 40 km in the Kali river, which runs along the Kaiga township, from where Mahalingam had disappeared.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had said in Chennai earlier today that intelligence officials had intensified the search.

As the disappearance of Mahalingam caused concern, NPCIL authorities had clarified that the scientist, involved in training at one of the simulator training centres, did not have any access to sensitive documents.

Mahalingam had earlier worked with Madras Atomic Power Project (MAPP) at Kalpakkam near Chennai.

According to officials, this was the second time Mahalingam went missing. Earlier, while working at Kalpakkam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, he was reported missing for few days but had returned home later.