STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: The Adjudicating Authority, New Delhi has confirmed the attachments of 21 immovable/movable assets worth Rs 4.69 Crores including Bank Balances, plots, flats and residential houses obtained by government functionaries including IAS officer Rajeev Ranjan, the then DC Kupwara and other clerks and arms dealers of J&K for their alleged involvement in Arms Licenses scam.
Directorate of Enforcement, Jammu has provisionally attached 21-immovable/movable assets worth Rs 4.69 Crores in Arms License case vide its Provisional Attachment Order (PAO) which has been confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority, New Delhi on September, 16,2022 in the favour of the Directorate.
The attached properties are in the form of Bank Balance, Plots, Flats and residential houses obtained by government functionaries including Rajeev Ranjan the then DC Kupwara and other clerks and arms dealers of J&K.
The said properties were obtained from the Proceeds of Crime generated by the Government Officials and the arms dealers through illegal activities of issuing and renewing arms licenses.
The investigation in the Arms license matter is also being conducted by the Special Crime Branch of Central Bureau of Investigation, Chandigarh against the then DC Kupwara and other officials.
The investigation conducted by the Directorate has revealed that Government functionaries of J&K in the connivance with many arms dealers/brokers of J&K have brazenly flouted the norms, procedure and rules for issuing arms licenses in lieu of monetary considerations by abuse of their official position as public servants and generated huge Proceeds of Crime.
Earlier Directorate had also conducted search operations at 11 different locations in J&K at the residential premises of the Govt. functionaries including Rajeev Ranjan, IAS, the then DC kupwara, Itrat Hussain Rafiqui, Retd. JKAS, the then DC Kupwara and other clerks and residential premise of arms dealers like Varun Armoury (Amarnath Bhargav and his brother Madan Mohan Bhargav and Mukesh Bhargav), Mohinder Kotwal Arms and ammunition, Swaran Singh Arms and ammunition, Dashmesh Armoury and Kashmir Arms Corporation which led to seizure of cash and gold jewellery worth more than Rs. 2.50 Crores approximately and many incriminating documents including property documents and arms license (in original and photocopy).
Further Enforcement Directorate filed complaint in Adjudicating Authority, New Delhi in April, 2022 for retention of cash, jewellery and documents which has also been confirmed on September, 7, 2022 in its favour.
On March 25, 2022, The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted raid at 11-different locations across Union Territory of J&K in the Arms license case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 which include residential premises of Rajeev Ranjan, IAS (former DC Kupwara), Itrat Hussain, KAS (former DC Kupwara), Ravinder Kumar Bhatt, KAS (former ADC Kupwara), Tariq Ather and Gajan Singh, both former Judicial Clerks, who had worked at Arms Section at DC Office Kupwara.
Further residential premises of 6- arms dealers of J&K were also searched by the officers of ED and many incriminating documents revealing transactions between arms dealers/brokers with Govt. officials were obtained. It is revealed that many Senior Bureaucrats of J&K are involved in criminal practices of issuance of Arms license in lieu of monetary considerations. The officers and officials of the Districts in connivance with private persons and others had fraudulently and illegally issued the gun licenses.
Sources of information revealed that a well-knit nexus was being run by the arms dealers/independent brokers/agents and Judicial clerks and Deputy Commissioner and Additional Deputy Commissioner of various districts and they has issued arms licenses illegally by flouting the norms, procedure and rules governing the subject in lieu of monetary considerations by abuse of their official position as public servants and every one, beginning from Agents to arms dealers, had their share in this monetary consideration beginning from the broker/arms dealers to judicial clerks to DC/ADC of various districts. ED has registered the case in Arms license matter in 2020 and since then several IAS, KAS officers and other Govt officials have been summoned and investigated.
Pertinent to mention here that Rajasthan Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) and Madhya Pradesh Police had initially unearthed the scam in 2017 and had arrested over 50 people, including an IAS officer, for their alleged involvement in the illegal issuance of arms licenses. According to Rajasthan ATS, over 3,000 permits were granted allegedly in the name of Army personnel.
The CBI had also raided in Jammu and Srinagar houses of many serving and retired bureaucrats in connection with the scam.