J&K

CBI to investigate arms licenses scam in J&K

J&K Govt accords consent to extend powers of DSPE

Jammu: As the Jammu and Kashmir Government has accorded consent to the extension of powers and jurisdiction of the members of Delhi Special Police Establishment in the whole of the State to investigate and inquire into the cases related to issuance of arms licenses, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) will probe the entire scam involving many senior officers of J&K cadre.

The State Government had last month ordered an inquiry by State Vigilance Organisation into large scale issuance of individual arms licenses in contravention of rules and banned issuing fresh arms licences.

“In pursuance of Section-6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (Act No: 25 of 1946), the Government of Jammu and Kashmir hereby accords consent, to the extension of powers and jurisdiction of the members of Delhi Special Police Establishment in the whole of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, to investigate and inquire into the offences and attempts, abetments and conspiracies in relation to or in connection with the offences in case FIR 11/2018 registered at SVO Jammu under Section 5 (2) PC Act Svt 2006 read with section 3/25 Arms Act and case FIR 18/2018 registered at SVO Srinagar under Section 5 (2) PC Act Svt 2006 120-B RPC and section 3/25 Arms Act,” said a notification issued by the State’s Home Department.

The notification said the Delhi Special Police Establishment will also inquire into other offences committed in the course of same transactions or arising out of the same facts.

Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad while talking to ST said as the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act was brought into force in 1946, the CBI’s power to investigate cases is derived from this Act.

This order signifies that the arms licenses scam in J&K will be now probed by CBI.

Many cases of fake arms licences are pending in J&K and the CBI probe shall expose many officers, Advocate Shakeel said.

On July 11, Kumar Jyoti Ranjan (46), the owner of a Haryana-based construction company, was arrested from Gurugram for his involvement in illegal arms and fake licence racket that the ATS and SOG had busted 10 months ago.

According to ATS, Ranjan had got several licences issued to beneficiaries allegedly through some senior IAS officers of Jammu and Kashmir cadre.

An accused, Zuber, was also arrested from Jammu for taking Rs 3-4 lakh to get the license issued from Jammu and Kashmir in back dates.

Involvement of many IAS/IPS officers, from Rajasthan and Haryana, posted in J&K, surfaced during the ATS investigations, sources said, adding “many arrests are likely to be made in this inter-state arms licences scandal.

The State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) had registered two FIRs after J&K Home Department directed Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu to hold fresh verification into licenses issued between January 2017 and February 23, 2018, in eight districts of the State.

On March 6, 2018, Principal Secretary Home had also written a letter to Divisional Commissioners of the State to verify arms licences in Kishtwar, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Leh, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, and Udhampur issued to locals, non-state subjects and armed personnel.

The National Database for Arms Licenses had reported that the number of arms licenses issued to some districts in the State had been exceedingly large in numbers.

As per the Union Ministry of Home Affairs report, 3, 69,191 gun licenses have been issued during the last 15 years.

Accordingly, the SVO registered the case on the complaint received by the Home Department with regard to irregularities in issuance and renewal of arms licences by the authorities across the State during the period 2012 to 2016.

On June 30, 2018, the SVO had conducted surprise checking at the offices of Deputy Commissioner Udhampur and Rajouri.

At Udhampur, the Vigilance team seized records pertaining to issuance of over 20,000 arms licenses between 2012 and 2016. With this the investigations into infamous arms licences scandal gained momentum.

The raid was carried out by a team of SVO sleuths led by DySP H L Pandita under the supervision of the then SSP Dr Hasib Mughal.

Preliminary scrutiny of seized records revealed that the licences were issued on single page application forms without conducting any CID or police verifications.

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