Fact Check: Social media post on Subramanian Swamy accusing Manmohan Singh and Sonia of illegally selling thorium is misleading
A post circulating on social media states that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has revealed a scam worth Rs 60 lakh crore.
Hyderabad: A post circulating on social media states that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has revealed a scam worth Rs 60 lakh crore. The post claims that during the UPA regime, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh sold approximately 2 tonnes of thorium to China, and Swamy exposed this information.
The claim is misleading.
We tried to find a statement from Subramanian Swamy accusing Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi of allowing illegal export of thorium to China, but we couldn't find any such statement on his official social media accounts. However, we did find a tweet where he expressed concern about the government considering lifting the ban on private entities mining beach sand minerals. He said this would be a betrayal of national interest and security because the sand on the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala contains thorium, which is banned from mining by the Atomic Energy Commission. He also expressed concern that the Adani Group entities could sell this sand to foreigners, including the Chinese, as Adani owes a lot of money to them.
According to a news report by the Daily Pioneer, during the UPA regime, there were rumours of 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. The report alleges that the company had illegally exported thorium-rich sand and claims that between 2002 and 2012, around 2.1 million tonnes of monazite had gone missing, which is approximately 235,000 tonnes of thorium.
In 2012, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) denied allegations that private companies were allowed to export a million tonnes of monazite worth several lakhs of crores of rupees illegally. The DAE said that all licensed sand mining companies are strictly regulated and submit quarterly reports to AERB detailing the safe disposal of tailings. They also stated that exporting monazite without a license from AERB is a punishable crime under the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules 2004.
In response to the DAE's press release denying allegations of illegal monazite export, Subramanian Swamy, then President of the Janata Party, wrote a letter to the Atomic Energy Commission Chairman RK Sinha. Citing the Daily Pioneer reports, he questioned the government's decision to remove rare earth minerals from the prescribed substances to open general license under international pressure after the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. He also questioned the DAE's version of stating only 30% of monazite reserves were available in the country. However, Subramanian Swamy did not accuse Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi of involvement in the alleged thorium export scam that was deemed false by the DAE. In 2012, Subramanian Swamy wrote a letter to Manmohan Singh urging him to take steps to protect strategic monazite reserves.
During the UPA regime, the 'Daily Pioneer' website first reported on the illegal mining and export of monazite, a sand mineral rich in Thorium, by a private company in Tamil Nadu. However, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) issued a press release in 2012 stating that these allegations were baseless and entirely false. While Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy challenged some of the statements made by the DAE in the press release regarding the removal of rare earth minerals such as ilmenite, zircon, and leucoxene from prescribed substances to open general licenses, he did not implicate Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi in the alleged scam, which was deemed baseless by the DAE. Hence, the post is misleading.