VIVEK SHARMA JAMMU: Continuing investigations into the Arms Licenses Scam in Jammu and Kashmir, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought information from various Deputy Commissioners regarding issuance of licences from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2016 especially in Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua, Reasi, Ramban, Kupwara, Pulwama and Srinagar districts. The CBI has asked the DCs whether their offices had procured/printed any Arms Licence Issuance Registers or Licence Books for the period between 2012 and 2016 for official purpose of entry of data on the licenses issued and if so the agency be provided the documents like supply order, bills, payment details, stock register thereof.
Arms Licenses issued between Jan 1, 2012 to Dec 31, 2016 being probed
The CBI sleuths have also sought the information regarding process adopted and number of Licence Issuance Registers or Licence Books procured or printed. Last month, a letter 1955/3/6(s) 2018/ CBI/ SCB/ CHG was sent to DC Udhampur, seeking the details. He has been told to furnish all details before June 10, 2019. Here it is relevant to mention that last year a surprise check was also conducted in the office of Udhampur DC. When contacted, DC Udhampur Piyush Singla, said, “All relevant information has been passed on to the CBI. Such matters are treated on priority and the information sought has been made available.” From 2012 to 2016, four IAS officers served as Deputy Commissioners in Udhampur. They include P K Pole from December 16, 2011 to March 17, 2013, Yasha Mudgal from March 18, 2013 to May 17, 2015; Dr Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary from May 18, 2015 to May 22, 2016 and Niraj Kumar from May 23, 2016 to September 5, 2017. Sources in the CBI informed that the investigations are being conducted district wise and the record is under scrutiny. The investigation of CBI Case No. RC-6(S) 2018/CBI/SCB/CHG dated October 16, 2018 (relating to irregularities in the issuance of Arms Licences in various districts of J&K began after the Jammu and Kashmir Government 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.
“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,” stated a notification issued by the State’s Home Department on August 10, 2018.
On July 11, 2017 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 which was busted by the ATS and SOG 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 then State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) now Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) had registered two FIRs after J&K Home Department directed Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu to hold fresh verification into arms licenses.
On March 6, 2018, Principal Secretary Home had also written a letter to Divisional Commissioners of the State to verify arms licences in Jammu, 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 had 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.
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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