Indian nuclear snake-oil salesman

An Indian rope trick?

Over the weekend, police in Dubai telephoned Indian authorities that they had arrested an Indian national who was trying to peddle ‘nuclear secrets’ to the UAE and its brotherly nations. He was duly put on a plane to India, interestingly, unescorted. After initial investigations, Indian authorities think that this was a false alarm.

Contrary to his claims, Akhtar Hussain, the newly arrived suspect from Dubai, does not have a brother in India’s nuclear establishment at all. It may well be an enterprising Indian confidence-trickster trying to make a quick buck in the backdrop of the A Q Khan affair.

‘‘He does have three brothers but none of them is a nuclear scientist. One brother Arif Hussaini is based in Jamshedpur and deals in garments. The second, Dr Adil Hussain, is a medical practitioner in Delhi and the youngest, Asif Hussain, works for a company called Reda in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,’’ said Home Ministry sources.

Akhtar was born and brought up in Allahabad and had gone to Dubai to do business a few years ago. Sources said that they had not found anything incriminating so far—documents or information—which could be dangerous to national security. ‘‘The entire episode appears to be a non-event from the security point of view. However, we are still probing into his background to be doubly certain if he had any access to the country’s nuclear development programme,’’ the sources added. The manner in which the entire matter was handled by Dubai authorities has strengthened the doubts of Indian intelligence agencies.

‘‘There had been absolutely no paperwork. We have not received anything officially from them. We were only informed over telephone that they were putting Akhtar on the Air-India flight to Mumbai—AI-716—and that we should take over from there. He was sent unescorted. Even third-rate criminals are sent under escort from Dubai. Selling nuclear secrets is serious business. It amounts to international felony, immediately attracting the attention of other countries like the US,’’ an official said. Also, in normal circumstances, Dubai police would have arrested and charged Akhtar first. India would then have been informed, after which a request for extradition would be submitted. ‘‘All these procedures are followed even in cases involving petty criminals. But nothing like this was done. He was simply deported back,’’ the official added. [Indian Express]

Update: He is indeed a failed Natwarlal.