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Live missile recovered from metal scrap in Ghaziabad
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 3
Ghaziabad “metal scrap” blast case, in which 10 persons were killed and 15 others were injured, today took a murky turn with the recovery of a live air-to-air missile, having the range of 15 km, which, if accidentally fired, could have landed at any VVIP place in the Capital, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The government of India is closely monitoring at top level the unfolding drama of discovery of live bomb, motar and even missile among the truckloads of metal scrap imported from Iran, even as experts from National Security Guard have started defusing the dangerous arsenal in the past 24 hours.

Top sources told The Tribune this evening that multiple agencies were involved in on-the- spot examination of the arsenal and a full report would be submitted to the Government of India in the next few days.

National Security Advisor J. N. Dixit is being briefed on the unfolding developments. It is understood that the Indian army would prepare a report and submit it to Ministry of Defence after examining the cargo of all 10 quarantined trucks in Ghaziabad.

On the basis of the report, the MoD will approach the Prime Minister’s Office, the NSA’s office and Ministry of External Affairs in the coming week for the appropriate action.

Intelligence Bureau and Customs Department, which are investigating the Ghaziabad case, will also be submitting their reports to the Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance, respectively.

When The Tribune pointed to the NSA, Mr Dixit, about the criticism of the government made by the security experts on television networks, said their fears were “purely sensationally speculative.” Mr Dixit also said that the security experts’ criticism of the government was “totally misplaced.”

Security sources said detailed investigations were on and efforts were being made to find out the identities of all importers involved, the source of import and the markings on the dangerous cargo.

Sources rubbished the speculations of another Purulia type arms seizure in the Ghaziabad case. Though the government feels that imported scrap material, presently being checked in Ghaziabad, was a “routine affair,” it admits that recovery of live bombs and missile was a matter of concern.

It is understood that the Ministry of External Affairs would come into the picture only when the Ministry of Defence submitted its report. After the MoD submitted its report to the MEA, then only the MEA could take up the matter  with the Government of Iran. It may be recalled here that the scrap material, currently being examined in Ghaziabad, was imported from Iran.

Meanwhile, the Ghaziabad firm, Bhushan Steel & Strips Limited, which had imported the metal scrap, has decided to take legal action against Mumbai-based Metco Marketing (India Private Limited) and Lucky Metals of Dubai for the breach of contract in the supply of heavy metal scrap containing the explosives.

The CPM today urged the Centre to institute an “impartial inquiry” into the Ghaziabad factory blast that claimed 10 lives even as it demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the family of those killed and adequate money for the treatment of those injured in the incident.

However, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who visited the blast site today, ruled out a CBI inquiry into the blast. “The local inquiry is good enough,” he said.

Import of war scrap is banned by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade but controls are lax, allowing live rockets with detonators to find their ways into Indian cities from as far away as Iran.

Reports indicate that Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan have some of the largest stocks of UXO or unexploded ordinance.

Ghaziabad: Five more rocket shells were reportedly recovered today from the scrap which was imported from Iran to Bhushan Steel Company’s factory where a blast had claimed 10 lives and injured 15.

With this, the total number of rocket shells recovered from the scrap has risen to 88.
A bomb disposal squad of the Army and National Security Guards searched through the scrap kept in 11 trucks which had been brought to Kanha Upavan, a scheduled area near the factory yesterday.

“Different kinds of shells have been found. Some of which are live,” Major Sukhwant Singh, supervising the bomb detection operation, told reporters. — PTI

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