A major security breach - the second in the past nine months - was foiled at the high-security Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) when security personnel and police nabbed seven people who attempted to secure class IV jobs there using forged documents and the man who arranged their 'recruitment'.
Police inspector S.G. Mullemwar of Tarapur Police Station Saturday said that there was 'no security threat of any kind to the BARC,' and there was no involvement of any officials from within the country's premier atomic complex.
However, a detailed check is being carried out to ascertain whether a similar method could been used to secure jobs in the BARC in the past.
Mullemwar said that last Tuesday, some people approached the main security of the BARC Colony seeking entry as new recruits for class IV category jobs.
However, a scrutiny of the documents, including appointment letters purportedly signed by BARC officials, by the security personnel revealed many errors and mistakes.
They were detained and the police summoned to take over the case, Mullemwar said.
Following detailed investigations, the police nabbed the kingpin, Mahendra Pawar of Satara district, and the seven others over the past two days.
They have been booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code, he said.
The other seven, who hail from Mumbai - Amit Sawant, 30, Mahesh Mhatre, 40, Shyam Mhatre, 34, Manoj Gujjar, 31, Sudam Genkar, 42, Neelkanth Sawant, 21 and Maruti Pawaskar, 38 - said that Pawar had promised them jobs in the BARC on payment of Rs.40,000 each.
Mullemwar said that before the gang could infiltrate into the BARC complex by securing jobs, they managed to bust it.
Pawar had fled to Satara district, from where a police team manage to nab him.
Investigations revealed that Pawar - who had earlier worked as a contract labour supplied to the BARC - used cyber cafes to prepare the bogus documents.
'Several errors and technical mistakes were found in the documents which we seized, including spelling blunders - Bhabha was spelt as 'Baba' - wrong logos, designations and signatures,' Mullemwar said.
This is the second time in the past nine months that a potential security breach has dogged the BARC.
In November last year, two contract workers attempted to steal computer spare parts from the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) inside the BARC complex.
However, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) managed to nab the accused - Amit Shelke and Prashant More - and foiled the theft, even though BARC downplayed the incident.
Tarapur, around 100 km north-east of Mumbai on the banks of the Arabian Sea, is the country's oldest and premier nuclear establishment.
Besides four nuclear power plants run by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, it also has other sensitive nuclear infrastructure within the BARC complex.