Srinagar: The CBI is likely to soon crack down on one of the biggest gunrunning rackets aided by some Jammu and Kashmir officials, with the Rajasthan Police seeking a central agency probe into over 5,000 fake arms licences issued in the last 10 years, a news report published by Economic Times said.
The Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of the Rajasthan Police has identified officials in the J&K home department and in the offices of district magistrates and district collectors in Kathua, Kupwara and Jammu who are suspected to have issued licences to the Mohammad Zuber gang, the report said.
The Rajasthan Police has contacted J&K chief secretary Bharat Bhushan Vyas and principal secretary (home department), Raj Kumar Goyal, to obtain licencing branch records and other details to unravel the deep-rooted gun network in six states, a top ATS officer told ET on condition of anonymity. Vyas, when contacted, asked ET to know “correct position” from the Jammu and Kashmir home department.
Goyal, however, confirmed to ET that he had received requests from the Rajasthan Police to share documents with them on fake arms licences, the report said.
“We have provided whatever documents were required by the Rajasthan ATS,” he told the newspaper. When asked whether the state government took any action against the suspected officials, he replied, “we have ordered our own inquiry, obviously, on the issue.”
Owing to jurisdiction compulsions, the Rajasthan Police recently wrote to the Vasundhara Raje government to request for an investigation by a central body, preferably the CBI, to take action against the J&K arms licensing issuing authorities, the top ATS officer was quoted by the report as saying. The Rajasthan government has informed the home ministry to hand over the case to a central agency.
Investigators have found that people living outside J&K were illegally shown to be domicile of the state so that they could get all-India arms licences. Some J&K authorities are suspected to have facilitated the issuance of these licences by presenting civilians in the application forms as either serving or retired personnel of Army or central paramilitary forces in the state, police sources were quoted in the report as saying.
The government allows armed forces personnel stationed in J&K or who had earlier served there to get all-India arms licences for personal safety after getting a certificate from their commanding officers, the report said.
Police have decided to approach the Army, BSF, CRPF, CISF and ITBP senior officials to ascertain whether names in the licences are genuine.
“The investigators, it is learnt, would also request them to vet the authenticity of other documents, including certificates, linked to licences,” the report said.
The Anti-Terror Squad has already seized 1,181 arms licences and 55 weapons such as pistols and rifles and arrested 40 persons involved in the racket during its more than five-month investigation.
Zuber Ahmed (27), a resident of Ajmer and who is now behind bars, is alleged to have charged anywhere between 4-7 lakh per licence and shared it among the gang members and Jammu and Kashmir officials, investigators revealed. The beneficiaries of this racket are the affluent, police suspect.