Jharkhand Police on Thursday arrested seven people for possessing and planning to sell ‘mineral uranium’ in the black market. Police said that they seized 6.4 kg of ‘uranium mineral’ from two of the accused, however, they are yet to nab the leading suspect from whom the mineral was procured.
All the accused were arrested from the Bokaro district of Jharkhand and were booked under IPC Sections 414 (Whoever voluntarily assists in concealing or disposing of or making away with property which he knows or has reason to believe to be stolen property), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and under various sections of Atomic Energy Act.
Superintendent of Police Chandan Jha said, “Seven people were arrested for possessing and planning to sell a mineral, which is suspected to be uranium after we received a tip. We are further investigating the case and the mineral is sent to the lab to check its veracity.”
However, the press release issued by the Bokaro police and the FIR, seen by The Indian Express, clearly mentions the mineral to be ‘uranium’. SP Jha refused to comment on whether any other investigating agency was involved and also did not comment on whether they sought custodial interrogation of the arrested accused.
According to the court records and the FIR, a senior police officer in Bokaro received a ‘tip’ on June 2 that five people: Deepak Mahato, Pankaj Kumar, Mahabir Mahato, M Sharma, Krishna Kant had ‘gathered together and were planning to ‘illegally sell prohibited mineral uranium in the black market’.
The police were informed that ‘if they nab the five people, the mineral will be recovered and the operation may be revealed’, the records stated.
The FIR registered in the Harla Police Station stated, “Seeing police Deepak Mahato and others, who were discussing something, started dispersing. They were caught by force after the area was cordoned. They said that they all were in touch with one Baapi Chandra, who had uranium with him, and that they had gathered in order to find prospective buyers. All smartphones from these five have been seized.”
It added that two independent witnesses were also called during this raid. The records stated that apart from mobile phones, no other materials were seized from these five.
Court records state that ‘help was sought’ from the five arrested after which police nabbed Baapi Chandra near Vaibhav Hotel at 3.30 pm with ‘one plastic rubber packet’, which contained a ‘sample of prohibited uranium mineral’. At Chandra’s instance one Anil Singh was nabbed who had 6.4 kg of ‘mineral uranium’ from his possession.
The records state: “…Both received the mineral uranium from Munna alias Ishaq’, who is yet to be arrested. Police recovered 4.5 kg of ‘mineral uranium’ from Singh’s village and two packets of 900 gm of ‘mineral uranium’ each.” The court records added: “Uranium Grade MFD 4/3/3018, EXP 3/7/2025 NET 900 gm Red Leather pouch Made in USA is written on the recovered uranium.”
Harla Police Station In-charge Govind Prasad Gupta said, “All seven were arrested on June 3 morning. We are yet to arrest Munna from whom Anil and Baapi procured the uranium.”