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'Akhtar was trying to sell nuke secrets since 1990s'
June 13, 2004 19:45 IST
Last Updated: June 13, 2004 21:10 IST
The NRI, who has been deported to India by Dubai authorities allegedly for trying to sell Indian nuclear secrets to some foreign countries, made his first attempt in the 1990s.
This was stated by Dubai police chief Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfam Tamim at a press conference on Saturday while announcing the arrest of the 35-year-old Akhtar Hussain Qutbuddin Ahmed, who owns a general trading shop.
UAE media quoted Tamim as saying that Akhtar tried to contact the UAE ambassador to India in a bid to sell nuclear secrets but the latter informed the concerned authorities. Consequently, the businessman was put under surveillance.
He told them that his brother is a scientist with an Indian atomic energy concern. He arranged a lecture for him at a university in the UAE, which was attended by a number of students and officials.
Authorities put him under strict surveillance to ensure that he was not a member of any international network.
After making sure that he did not possess any material or documents of sensitive and hazardous nature, authorities arrested him for deportation to India to be treated in accordance with the laws there.
Following his arrest by the Dubai police, Akhtar reportedly voluntarily confessed.
Security agencies in Mumbai are interrogating him to ascertain the nature of documents he could have possessed as well as their source.
The NRI was detained immediately after he landed in Mumbai and questioned at the Sahar International Airport by various security and intelligence agencies to establish his proximity to any official concerned with atomic energy, official sources said.
"We have requested the UAE authorities through diplomatic channels to provide the relevant information about Akhtar's activities, including details of the nuclear secret documents that he was allegedly trying to sell," they said.
The fact that he was unable to find any buyer for the alleged nuclear secrets indicated that these were not very significant. "However, the exact position will be known only after we get the report from Dubai," the sources said.
The case is being handled by intelligence agencies with the Mumbai police keeping out in view its sensitivity.
Meanwhile, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is examining all available information and scanning employees' list to ascertain if any of its scientists has any links with Akhtar, a BARC spokesperson told PTI on Sunday.
"We would be in a position to give some information by Monday," he said.
The BARC has around 16,000 employees. It is expecting some kind of communication from intelligence agencies, who are investigating the case.
Atomic Energy Commission chairman Dr Anil Kakodkar also said that the department is collecting all possible information regarding this case.
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