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DU mum on axing of profs

The ghost of the Mayapuri radiation fiasco is back to haunt Delhi University. More than a year after radioactive Cobalt 60 killed one and injured seven in the scrap market in Mayapuri, six DU professors were named in the chargesheet filed by Delhi police.
By Shaswati Das and Mallica Joshi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 04, 2011 01:46 AM IST

The ghost of the Mayapuri radiation fiasco is back to haunt Delhi University. More than a year after radioactive Cobalt 60 killed one and injured seven in the scrap market in Mayapuri, six DU professors were named in the chargesheet filed by Delhi police.

The professors have been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 of the IPC. University authorities, however, kept passing the buck and avoided commenting on the issue on Saturday.

While AK Bakshi, who became the head of the department of chemistry in April last year, refused to comment claiming that he was no longer a part of DU, the present head refused to comment.

"I was not the head when this incident took place. I have just taken over recently. I don't want to comment on this issue now since I will have the complete information only by Monday," said SMS Chauhan, Head of the Department (Chemistry), DU. Vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh did not reply to messages or phone calls till the time of going to press.

Out of the six accused, who are Rita Kakkar, VB Parmar, RC Rastogi, AK Prasad, Roop Lal and Rakesh Kumar, only RC Rastogi could be contacted.

"We will let the law take its course. We trust the judiciary completely and they will hear our defence before taking any decision. Any decision on our behalf can be made only after the court takes a decision," Rastogi said.

The incident In April 2010, the radioactive Cobalt-60 found in Mayapuri's scrap market was traced to the university's Chemistry department.

It was present inside the Gamma Irradiator, which was used by research students for experiments. The irradiator had not been used since 1985.

A committee was formed in the university in February which had these six professors as members. It was this committee that got permission from the then vice chancellor, Deepak Pental, to dispose of old equipment in the Chemistry department. This equipment included the irradiator.

According to police, the university committee did not follow the norm to dispose of radioactive material and the irradiator found its way into the scrap market where it was dismantled leading to radiation exposure.

Pental had at that time taken full moral responsibility for the incident.

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