The sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday carried fresh raids across Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi, including the residence of senior IAS officer Shahid Choudhary in Srinagar, in an alleged gun-licence scam case.
An official said that simultaneous raids were carried out at 40 locations in Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Jammu, Udhampur, Rajouri (J&K), and Delhi during which official and residential premises of current and former public servants, including an IAS officer and around 20 gun houses were searched.
In December 2019, the CBI had conducted similar raids at 17 locations in Srinagar, Jammu, and three other cities including Gurgaon (Haryana), Mohali (Punjab), and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) covering houses and offices of eight former district magistrates/deputy commissioners in connection with the alleged scam.
In March 2020, the CBI had arrested two former district magistrates of Kupwara- Rajiv Ranjan, an IAS officer, and Itrit Hussain Rafiqui - in connection with the issuance of a large number of arms licences based on forged documents.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had in 2018 recommended a CBI probe into the gun licence racket after names of public officials, especially some IAS officers, surfaced during investigations carried out by Rajasthan police's Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).
The unholy nexus between bureaucrats-middlemen-arms dealers was unraveled by the Rajasthan police's ATS in 2017. The CBI is investigating alleged irregularities in the grant of over two lakh arms licenses in different districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
These licences were just not issued to residents of J&K but also issued to people living in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and other states by showing them as Kashmiris.
Official data reveals that of the 22,805 fresh arms licences issued across the country between 2018 and September 15 last year, 17,905 were issued in J&K, which accounts for 78.51% of the licences. In the same period a total of 94,400 arms licences with all India permission across the country, out of which, 14,172 were done in J&K.
A senior police officer said some big players were making a fortune by selling fake arms licences and supplying sophisticated weapons to businessmen, builders, and even to certain journalists based outside J&K which needs to be stopped at once.
Source: Deccan Herald