February 2018 News

CBI Likely To Crack Down On Arms Racket In Jammu And Kashmir Soon

21 February 2018
The Economic Times
Dalip Singh

New Delhi: 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. The Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of the Rajasthan Police has identified officials in the JK 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 Rajasthan Police has contacted JK 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. We have provided whatever documents were required by the Rajasthan ATS, he said. 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 JK arms licensing issuing authorities, the top ATS officer said. The Rajasthan government has informed the Union home ministry to hand over the case to a central agency. Investigators have found that people living outside JK were illegally shown to be domicile of the state so that they could get all-India arms licences. Some JK 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, according to police sources. The government allows armed forces personnel stationed in JK or who had earlier served there to get all-India arms licences for personal safety after getting a certificate from their commanding officers. 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 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 fivemonth 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. Who is kingpin Mohammad Zuber? After the death of his grandfather Wali Mohammad, Zuber (27) along with his father Usman started looking after their ancestral gun house in Ajmer. To make quick money, he raised six-member gang to procure fake all-India arms licences from JK through contacts of accused Vishal Ahuja and Rahul Grover. He arranged weapons for benefi ciaries from his relatives Malwa Bandook Ghar in Malwa district of MP Police verifying 5,000 more suspicious licences issued to people from Rajasthan, JK, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh with Zubers help. Economics of Fake Arms License racket Udaipur-based Shambhu Singh, as per police chargesheet, filed on December 8, paid Rs 5 lakh for the licence obtained from DM Kathua in 2008-2009 through Zuber Singh also paid another Rs 12 lakh for three weapons he bought from Zuber, but later realised that it was fake and blew the whistle on the racket. Similarly, Sumit Bhandari got arms licence (HOMEAR-285-2006-JK) through same modus operandi.