Sentence: 2 yrs in jail, Rs 500 fine
A fine of Rs 500 or two years in jail or may be both—this is the maximum punishment that would be invoked against the guilty in the Mayapuri radiation case.
If the police make any arrests for “possessing the radioactive material” in Mayapuri, the accused—responsible for the death of one person and irreparable health damages to seven others—will walk free within two years.
In the absence of any specialised Act, Delhi Police has registered a case under simple sections dealing with injury and negligence.
Cumulatively, the two sections—337 IPC (causing hurt) and 304 A IPC (death due to negligence)—will invite a punishment of only two years in jail or fine or both.
“We are looking into the legalities but so far, the case has been made out under these two sections,” said Sharad Aggarwal, DCP (west).
On April 9, soon after the AERB officials informed the police about the presence of Cobalt-60 in the Mayapuri scrapyard, they registered a case of hurt, as six people including a shop owner had to be hospitalised due to exposure to the radioactive material.
Section 337 IPC is generally invoked in road accidents.
Police slapped another section 304 A after Rajender Prasad’s death on Monday.
On Thursday, after tracing the source of radiation to a DU lab, a Delhi Police team rounded up a number of faculty members and questioned them about the auctioning of Cobalt-60. The police also took with them a number of documents from the department for investigations. “Who authorised the auction is still a matter of investigation,” said the officer.
Police also wrote letters to Department of Atomic Energy and AERB asking for details on regulations regarding the guidelines on disposing of radioactive wastes.
“We have asked about the safety measures to be adopted while handling such material. We also asked about the guidelines to dispose of the same,” he added.
“We have also sought a report from DU,” he said.
Police also questioned scrap dealers Harcharan Singh Bhola and Giriraj Gupta. Bhola bought the Gamma Irradiator and then passed on the Cobalt-60 to Gupta. The team also visited the ‘hot zones’ in Mayapuri and questioned a few scrap dealers.