Police probe revealed that DU was given to the shoemaker for sale by scrap-dealer Kishore Prajapati.
Mumbai: The Thane crime branch on Sunday seized 16 grams of depleted uranium (DU) from a Mira Road-based shoemaker and sent it to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for testing. The police probe established that the DU was given to the shoemaker for sale by scrap-dealer Kishore Prajapati.
It was only around a fortnight ago, that the police had seized 8.86 kg of DU worth Rs 24 crore from Prajapati and his activities had been under the scanner ever since. The police had nabbed Prajapati and his aide last month when they were attempting to sell the DU to a potential buyer.
The police suspects that the fresh DU that has been seized is from the same stock that was earlier seized from Prajapati and his alleged accomplice, who is also a scrap dealer. The police has questioned the shoemaker, whose identity is being kept under wraps as the probe is still on, and is verifying his role, according to DCP, Thane police (crime), Parag Manere.
“The shoemaker clarified that Prajapati gave him 16 grams of Depleted Uranium a few months ago and told him that it was a big thing. Prajapati told him that he should try to sell it and the proceeds from it could be shared between them,” said Mr Manere. The police probe found that Prajapati had allegedly sourced the DU from a scrapped Boeing aircraft in 2006, and stored it in his house till 2014.
During interrogation Prajapati confessed that two pieces (73 gm) were taken out from the three main samples of Uranium and given to an oil seller in Khar while the other one, of 16 gm, to a shoe-seller in Mira Road, Mr Manere further said.
DCP Manere said, “Prajapati was desperate to find a customer to sell the uranium to. Basically he was searching (for a customer) to get rid of the Uranium at suitable price so he gave some stuff to the oil seller in Khar and the shoemaker at Mira Road.”
The police said Prajapati divided the DU into three parts, and kept the major part with himself while giving the others to the oil seller and the shoemaker.
“Prajapati got the DU verified by a privately-run lab and approached potential buyers in the grey market,” joint commissioner of police (Thane) Ashutosh Dumbhare had told The Asian Age last month.