A post is being shared on social media claiming that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has exposed a 60 Lakh crore worth scam by revealing that Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh sold about 2 tonnes of thorium to China during the UPA regime. Let’s verify the claim made by the post.
Claim: Subramanian Swamy revealed that Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh illegally sold 2 tonnes of Thorium to China during their regime.
Fact: A news report on illegal mining and export of monazite, a sand mineral containing a rich quantity of Thorium, by a private company in the southern state of Tamil Nadu was first reported by the ‘Daily Pioneer’ website during the UPA regime. In 2012, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) issued a press release stating that these allegations as baseless and completely untrue. The then Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy countered a few statements made by DAE in the press release about removing rare earth minerals like ilmenite, zircon and leucoxene from prescribed substances to open general license. But Subramanian Swamy did not accuse Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi’s involvement in this alleged scam termed baseless by the DAE. Hence, the claim made in the post is Misleading.
When we searched to check whether BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had issued any such statement accusing Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi of allowing illegal export of thorium to China, we could not find any such statement on Subramanian Swamy’s official Twitter and Facebook handles. In fact, Subramanian Swamy while responding to a news report on government considering revoking its 2019 ban on private entities mining beach sand minerals and a possibility of Adani entities stepping into the beach sand mining, Subramanian Swamy tweeted, “Yes this is a gross betrayal of national interest and security because the sand on & along the coast of TN and Kerala have thorium. Our Atomic Energy Commission had banned this mining. Adani could now sell this sand to foreigners including the Chinese to whom he owes a lot $$$”.
Rumours on illegal mining and export of monazite, a sand mineral containing a rich quantity of Thorium, by a private company in the southern state of Tamil Nadu was first reported by the ‘Daily Pioneer’ news site during the UPA regime. The news report alleges that a private company licensed for sand mining had illegally exported thorium rich sand and claims that between 2002 and 2012, around 2.1 million tonnes of monazite had gone missing, which amounts to approximately 235,000 tonnes of thorium.
In 2012, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) issued a press release stating that these allegations on private companies being allowed to export a million tonnes of monazite, worth several lakhs of crores of rupees, were completely baseless and untrue. DAE in the press release stated that all the sand mining licenced companies are under strict regulatory control and said they send quarterly reports to AERB stating the number of tailings disposed of safely either in the premises or as backfill. DAE stated that exporting monazite without a licence from AERB is a violation of the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules 2004 and emphasised it as a punishable crime.
Then Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy reportedly wrote a letter to the then Atomic Energy Commission Chairman RK Sinha, countering a few statements made by the DAE in the press release. Citing the ‘Daily Pioneer’ reports, Subramanian Swamy questioned DAE about the government’s decision to remove rare earth minerals like ilmenite, zircon and leucoxene from prescribed substances to open general license. Stating these measures were taken under the international pressure after the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Subramanian Swamy questioned the DAE version of stating only 30% of monazites reserves available in the country. But Subramanian Swamy did not accuse Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi’s involvement in the alleged thorium export scam that was stated as false by DAE. In 2012, Subramanian Swamy wrote a letter to Manmohan Singh urging him to take steps to protect strategic monazite reserves.
To sum it up, Subramanian Swamy did not accuse Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi of exporting 2 million tonnes of thorium to China.