Over 3,000 gun licenses issued in the purported name of army personnel during their stint in Jammu and Kashmir are under the scanner of Rajasthan’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) which has asked the army to verify the names following suspected involvement of a gang to procure them illegally, police officials said today.
The case dates back to November last year when the Rajasthan police’s ATS carried out an operation codenamed “Jubaida” and arrested 52 people so far for their alleged involvement in getting gun licenses issued from various districts of J and K under suspicious circumstances. The licenses included 3,367 in the purported name of army personnel, the officials said.
After unravelling the entire conspiracy, the officials of the ATS found that such licenses were issued by the Deputy Commissioners of the districts over the past one decade and no records were allegedly maintained for the same, they said.
Letters were written in this connection to the Army, Indian Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, seven para-military forces including the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF), National Cadet Corps(NCC), Railway Protection Force(RPF) and National Disaster Response Force(NDRF).
While majority of them had replied, a comprehensive response from the army was still awaited notwithstanding the reminders, the officials said.
The first letter was sent to all the organisations on November 9, 2017 along with a list of personnel against whom the arms licenses had been issued. The police had asked these organisations to verify the names and submit relevant information which included their duration of tenure while being posted in J and K.
While most organisations started furnishing their response, the army also submitted a list of 375 personnel without giving the time period when they had served in the militancy-infested border state prompting the Rajasthan police to send another letter on February 14 this year in which the attention of the army authorities was drawn to the seriousness of the case.
“We have received information of only 375 personnel and after perusal of the report, we found that the despatched information is not in conformity to what we wanted. Some information is missing...
“As the matter is extremely serious, sensitive and of expedient nature, therefore, you are requested to provide information at the earliest keeping in view the seriousness of the case,” said the letter from ATS Rajasthan to the Additional Director General (Personnel and Services) at the Army headquarters.
The police wanted to know the period of posting of the 3,367 army personnel mentioned in the list, tenure of posting of these personnel in J and K and whether these personnel have retired from the service.
After this, the army sent a list of around 2,500 personnel without mentioning whether or not they had served in J and K, the officials said.
The Rajasthan police fired a third letter on March 24, saying the list again does not conform to what has been asked from the army authorities, they said.
“We are still awaiting the information from the army authorities. This case has security implications,” a senior ATS official said on the condition of anonymity.
As far as other organisations are concerned, the Navy informed the police that out of the list of 26 personnel submitted, only 14 cases were genuine, the officials said, adding this will help us in finding how the remaining 12 people allegedly posing themselves as Navy personnel got the gun license from J and K.
The IAF was provided with a list of 39 people by the ATS out of which the credentials of only 17 were found to be correct. Similarly, out of the 548 personnel from the BSF, records for 471 were received out of which cases of only 336 personnel were found correct, the officials said.
The CRPF list stood at 424 out of which 237 were found correct, the officials said, adding, among other forces, only 154 out of 387 were found correct for the Central Industrial Security Force(CISF), Seema Sashtra Bal(SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), National Security Guards(NSG), Coast Guard, Railway Protection Force(RPF), National Cadet Corps(NCC) and the NDRF.