New Delhi, July 24: It is probably one of the biggest arms licence scams of all times and in the past ten years nearly 4.29 lakh licences were issued from the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The scam was unearthed by the Rajasthan ATS in an operation which it had codenamed Jubaida. The probe found that 1,32,321 of the 1,43,013 licences in Jammu's Doda, Ramban and Udhampur districts were issued to those from outside the state. In the entire state, 4,29,301 licences were issued of which only 10 percent were given to residents of the state.
When the ATS questioned a person called Baby, he had admitted to possessing a fake gun licence and a firearm that he had procured from Jammu and Kashmir in 2014. In fact the licence that he possessed was backdated to 2007.
This was the major breakthrough the ATS achieved while probing the case. Several of the gun licences issued in 2014 were backdated to 2007. However the cartel ended up making a major blunder, by carrying on the licence, Aadhar as the identity proof. ATS officials say that there was no Aadhaar in 2007 and this led them to busting this major scam.
There were several influential businessmen who were part of this cartel. While many were from Jaipur, the role of several officials in Jammu and Kashmir too came under the scanner during investigations.
Officials would use the name of Army personnel and issue the gun licences at costs of Rs 3 to 5 lakh. As part of the extensive six month probe, the ATS ended up seizing lakhs of gun licences and 100s of guns from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and J&K.
The ATS found that the name of an Army jawan was used to procure a fake licence from the Valley. One of the suspects was issued a licence in the name of an Army jawan by the officials in Kashmir. Further probe revealed that several such licences were issued in the name of Army personnel.
The probe which ought to have moved forward faster, slowed down as the ATS did not get the support of the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir. Now the ATS has suggested that the matter be handed over to the CBI for further investigation as the matter has inter-state ramifications and concerns national security.
ATS officials tell Oneindia that this racket has been on since the past 10 years. During the probe the ATS arrested the brother of an IAS officer from Kashmir. It was found that he had been paid Rs 40 lakh by the arms lobby. He was based in Gurugram, the ATS said.
The probe also found that of these licences that were issued, 3,000 of them were issued in the name of Army personnel serving in Jammu and Kashmir. The Army was asked to verify the names.
The police say that the main suspect in the case is one Rahul who hails from Jammu. He was the one who acted as the go-in-between. He hails from a middle class family and started his career as a middleman in a licensing authority office in J&K.
The probe found that this was part of a major arms racket. The scam was so rampant that in several cases it was found that one licence was issued for three to four guns.