Navy divers join search for missing scientist

June 13th, 2009 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 13 (IANS) Navy divers Saturday scoured the Kali river adjoining the state-run Kaiga Atomic Power Plant in the costal Karwar district of Karnataka for the plant’s senior scientific officer missing since Monday.
Loknath Mahalingam, 47, a senior scientific officer working with Kaiga Atomic Power Plant for the last 10 years, is missing after he went on a morning walk in the township Monday.

“We’ve intensified the search operations and the divers have joined us. They are trying to search for Mahalingam in the river Kali,” Uttara Kannada district superintendent of police Raman Gupta told IANS on phone from Kaiga, about 500 km from here.

“We’re hopeful of getting some clues about the scientist soon,” he added.

The police suspect Mahalingam could have been drowned. Fears were also expressed that he might have been attacked and killed by a panther.

Kaiga township is surrounded by 1000-acre dense Mallapur forest, where the police are currently carrying on their search operation.

The scientist’s wife, Vinayakar Sundari, lodged a complaint with the police Monday evening.

Officials sought to allay fears that Mahalingam could have been kidnapped by terror groups or anti-national forces as speculated in the media earlier.

“We’re taking it as a case of missing person and are trying our best to find the scientist,” said Gupta.

Mahalingam has been associated with the training department, responsible for imparting training in routine operation and maintenance aspects to the plant personnel, which is essentially an educational and skill development function.

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