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Govt seeks time from HC to state causes of death of scientists

Maharashtra cabinet

Mumbai : The Department of Atomic Energy and the Maharashtra Government today sought time to give additional information on the causes of death of nuclear scientists in the last two decades.

Earlier, the authorities had filed an affidavit in this regard but today they sought time to file additional information.

Accordingly, the bench of justices V M Kanade and Reveti Mohite-Dere gave two weeks time to the respondents to file additional affidavits.

The Court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking formation of a special investigating team (SIT) to probe the deaths of several nuclear scientists.

The HC had earlier sought to know from the State Government whether proper security measures have been provided to nuclear scientists at their workplace in the city.

“Several decades back many scientists had died because they were not provided suits. Does exposure to nuclear radiation cause cancer which then leads to death ? We would like to know if proper security measures have been provided to the scientists,” the High Court had asked.

The court had also said that if something untoward were to happen in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in suburban Trombay then it would impact all the people of Mumbai.

Kothari had sought information under the RTI in 2010 from police and public information office seeking list of scientists and employees in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), who had committed suicide during the last 15 years. He said he was informed that five employees committed suicide.

The PIL, filed by activist Chetan Kothari, claimed that India is turning out to be a dangerous place to work for nuclear scientists.

The petitioner said he had sought similar information from Institute of Mathematical Science, Heavy Water Plant, Baroda and other important departments. He said that from the data collected he is of the view that Indian nuclear scientists had not had an easy time in the past.

The petitioner also pointed out to a few media reports and also a few incidents where bodies of scientists were found in suspicious circumstances in 2009 and 2010 but they were tagged as suicides and the matter was closed.

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