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Trail of fraud behind nuke ‘spy’

June 13: Poring over a list of 16,000 names to pick out the mysterious brother of a “spy” who came in from Dubai, India’s nuclear establishment tonight claimed that it had found “nothing yet” to link any employee with Akhtar Hussain Qutubuddin Ahmed.

One-time neighbours of Ahmed, who was deported from Dubai to Mumbai yesterday on charges of trying to sell nuclear secrets, too, could not recall any scientist in his family.

But they remembered a fair-complexioned youth who once floated a scheme to launch an airline and allegedly ended up building a mansion in Mango on the outskirts of Jamshedpur.

Dubai police stood by their version that the 35-year-old trader had been trying to sell nuclear secrets to some embassies in the UAE and had sought to contact the emirates’ ambassador to India.

Dubai police chief Lt-Gen. Dhahi Khalfam Tamim said Ahmed made use of his brother who the suspect claimed was a scientist with an Indian atomic energy concern.

Before the department of atomic energy issued the disclaimer tonight, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre had said it was scanning a roster of 16,000 employees.

Ahmed, who carries a passport issued in Mumbai in 2003, has been questioned for over 20 hours at the city’s international airport. “Ahmed has not said anything about his brother. As of now, there is very little with us,’’ conceded a police officer.

Two teams, one each from the Research and Analysis Wing and the CBI, have reached Mumbai to take over the case.

When news channels flashed Ahmed’s name, it rang a bell for many in Mango. Ahmed’s erstwhile neighbours in Azadnagar, a colony where he lived for eight years, said his eldest brother was based in West Asia, the second is a school teacher and the third is mentally challenged.

Ahmed had undergone a pilot’s course at a local aviation club. “Some people suspected that the money he raised for the airline was spent on building a Rs 40-lakh house and had beaten him up,” a resident said.

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