The origin of the radioactive material found in the shops of several scrap dealers in Mayapuri here earlier this month — and has claimed one life so far — has been traced to the Chemistry Department of Delhi University.
The breakthrough came in the form of photographs of the source of radiation taken by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and sent to the Delhi Police as part of its report on April 26.
On seeing the photographs, scrap dealer Giriraj Gupta, in whose shop two radiation sources were detected, told the police that he bought the scrap from another dealer, Harcharan Singh Bhola.
Mr. Bhola told the police that he purchased the lead in bulk at an auction in Delhi University. He reportedly removed the iron part of the scrap and sold the lead part to Mr. Gupta, who owns a shop in Mayapuri Phase-II. Mr. Gupta dismantled it and sold the lead part to other scrap dealers.
The iron part further changed hands to reach Rajinder, a scrap dealer who was affected the most and died at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences on Monday.
It was further revealed during the investigation that the Gamma Cell, the source of radiation, was apparently purchased from Atomic Energy Canada Limited in 1970 for students of the Chemistry department to conduct experiments to analyse the effect of Gamma rays on chemicals.
It was not in use since 1985 and was auctioned by the Delhi University authorities on February 26.
Several teams of scientists and experts visited Mayapuri Phase-II and at least 10 bunches of scrap material containing radiation sources were removed from the area.