Gun-Licensing Racket: CBI Searches Premises Of Two IAS Officers

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SRINAGAR / JAMMU – The CBI on Monday carried out searches at 17 locations in the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and three states, including the premises senior IAS officers Yasha Mudgal and Kumar Rajeev Ranjan, in two cases related to an alleged gun-licensing racket unearthed by Rajasthan Police in 2017, officials said.

This is the first major operation of the agency in Jammu and Kashmir after the reorganisation of the erstwhile state as a Union Territory under which the CBI gets jurisdiction to operate there under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, they said.

The announcement about the state being bifurcated into UTs — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir — was made on August 5 by the central government and it came into existence on October 31.

Giving details, the CBI officials said several documents related to the cases, including bank statements, were recovered during the searches that were carried out at three places in Kashmir, 11 places in Jammu and one each in Gurugram (Haryana), Mohali (Punjab) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh).

Besides searching the premises of Mudgal, a 2007-batch IAS officer, and Ranjan, a 2010-batch IAS officer, houses of Itrat Hussain, Mohammed Saleem, Mohammed Junaid Khan, F C Bhagat, Farooq Ahmed Khan and Jehangir Ahmed Mir were searched, the officials said.

Mudgal is at present CEO-and-Managing Director of Power Distribution Corporation Jammu, while Ranjan is CEO of Jammu Srinagar Metro Rail Corporation

The CBI was handed over the matter in August last year.

It is probing lakhs of arms licences that were issued in the last one decade from various districts of the militancy-hit region, officials said.

The premises of then deputy commissioners and district magistrates of Kupwara, Baramulla, Udhampur, Kishtwar, Shopian, Rajouri, Doda and Pulwama are being searched in connection with two CBI cases related to alleged irregularities in the issuance of around two lakh arms licences from different districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said.

It is alleged that the then public servants received illegal gratification in issuance of licences to non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir in violation of rules, they said.

The case was handed over to the CBI on the basis of a recommendation from Rajasthan Director General of Police O P Galhotra after the anti-terror squad had busted a racket related to the matter.

The agency had registered two FIRs in this regard with the consent of the Jammu and Kashmir government with the then DC of Kupwara listed as an accused in one of them, while unidentified officials of various districts have been mentioned in another, they said.

The CBI’s Chandigarh unit has registered the FIRs for alleged criminal misconduct and criminal conspiracy under the Ranbir Penal Code and in violation of Section 3/25 of the Arms Act, besides provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to Rajasthan Police officials, the Jammu and Kashmir government was informed about the racket in 2017 and several letters addressed to then Chief Secretary B B Vyas remained unanswered.

According to Rajasthan ATS officials, 1,32,321 of the 1,43,013 licences in Jammu region’s Doda, Ramban and Udhampur districts were issued to those residing outside the state.

The figure for the entire state is 4,29,301, of which just 10 per cent were issued to residents in the state.

Rajasthan ATS officials said they were not aware of the magnitude of the case and its serious ramifications when they began the operation, code named ‘Jubaida’.

A sample survey of licences issued from Kupwara, a frontier district in north Kashmir, showed that no files or registers were maintained by the district authorities and many of the arms licences may have been issued to outsiders on the basis of forged documents.

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