ED attached 16 properties of bureaucrats, officials and staff involved in the Fake Arms Licence issuance case. Arms Quota reserved for Army personnel were misappropriated and sold to “non-entitled” persons which could’ve been a security risk. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted a search operation at 11 places on 24th March simultaneously, including the residential areas of IAS official Rajeev Ranjan and JKAS officials Itrat Hussain Rafiqui, Ravinder Kumar Bhatt. During search operations, many incriminating shreds of evidence linking transactions for fake arms licences were found. The ED is probing the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,2002 (PMLA) on the FIR registered by CBI earlier.
The case has been registered against several serving and retired officials. The ED attached 16 properties worth ₹4.69 crores while the officials claim that the total proceeds of crime may go up to the tune of 40 crores. According to the Hindustan Times news report, the officials said, “Sixteen properties of IAS and other government officials and arms dealers, agents and brokers Rahul Grover, Zumurud Hussain Shah, Syed Adeel Hussain Shah, Syed Akeel Hussain Shah, Abid Hussain Shah worth several crores are attached under the PMLA, 2002 and further investigation is being conducted”
“Government functionaries of J&K in connivance with many arms dealers/brokers of J&K have brazenly flouted the norms, procedure and rules for issuing arms licences for monetary considerations by abusing their official position as public servants and generated huge Proceeds of Crime.”
The Case Chronology
The Case originated in Rajasthan when Rajasthan Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested a fake arms license gang. It was involved in the issuance of thousands of arms licences to “non-entitled” persons by counterfeited documents prepared across the then state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Rajasthan ATS updated the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and sent a detailed report about the fake arms licence issuance case. The CBI probe was ordered by the then J&K governor Vohra to investigate the matter.
After registering the case, CBI in the year 2018 started search operations at various places linked with the IAS and KAS officials. On finding sufficient material evidence the CBI filed a charge sheet in the case.
National Security Risk
The timely action of the Central agencies averted what could have been a national security risk. As the official statement states between 2012 and 2016 alone around 2 lakh arms licences had been issued by these accused Arms dealers and such corrupt sold out officers. According to the officials, the District Commissioners of many districts in Jammu and Kashmir were involved in such malpractice or criminal activity against the nation.
Giving arms licences to undeserving or non-entitled persons could lead to arming the separatists and insurgent groups in the valley and other areas. The deep state or establishment of Pakistan had been arming the radicalised youth of the valley to fight for jihad against our nation. Such arms brokers, dealers and corrupt officials are doing the same due to greed of making money and creating a national security risk for the country.
The action on such officials needs to be exemplary so that such anti-India crimes don’t repeat and arms logistics supply to the separatists do not reach either from Pakistan or through such criminal arms dealers.