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Gamma Cell radio-active material sold by Delhi University

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) The radio-active material Gamma Cell, which claimed one life and caused injuries to seven people in a west Delhi scrap market, was auctioned by Delhi University two months ago, police said Wednesday.

"Delhi University auctioned it Feb 26. The radio-active material Gamma Cell was purchased by Harcharan Singh Bhola, who dismantled it and sold it further," Deputy Commissioner of Police (west Delhi) Sharad Aggarwal told IANS.

"The chemistry department of the varsity had purchased it from Atomic Energy Canada Limited in 1970 for experimental purposes. But it was not in use since 1985," he added.

Aggarwal said Bhola removed the iron part from the cell and sold the lead part to scrap dealer Giriraj Gupta, who got it dismantled and sold the lead to some other scrap dealers. Gupta kept the iron part found embedded in lead.

"Apparently, part of iron scrap of Gamma Cell removed by Bhola reached Jain through Rajinder, who suffered maximum radio-active exposure and died Monday," he said.

Aggarwal said no arrest has been made so far.

A fortnight ago, radiation leak was reported from the scrap market in Mayapuri area of west Delhi. Eight people, affected by radiation poisoning, were admitted to various hospitals, where one person died. One man is still battling for life and others are said to be out of danger.

A team of radiation safety experts from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Mumbai, the Narora Atomic Power Station (NAPS) and AERB identified the radiation source at shop No. D2/32 in Mayapuri Phase-II.

The team located and recovered six sources of different intensity. The radio-active Gamma Cells were placed in a lead shielded flask. Two more such materials were recovered from Jain's godown, who is struggling for life. Further searches led to recovery of two more radio active materials from Gupta's shop.

The police officer said radio-active source Gamma Cells was used for conducting experiments in analysing effect of Gamma Rays on chemicals.

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