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Illegal gun licences: CBI raids 40 places, officials’ homes in Jammu and Kashmir

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The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday conducted searches at around 40 locations across Jammu & Kashmir including the residence of senior IAS officer Shahid Choudhary in connection with its ongoing investigation into illegal issuance of gun licences.

The agency conducted raids at Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Rajouri, Anantnag and Baramulla districts and at some places in Delhi as well. The residences of some senior government officials and around 20 gun houses and dealers were searched.

Choudhary is currently secretary (tribal affairs) and chief executive, Mission Youth, in the J&K government. He has previously served as deputy commissioner of Kathua, Reasi, Rajouri, Srinagar and Udhampur districts. Choudhary tweeted that the CBI found nothing incriminating from his residence.

In 2018, the CBI had registered two cases on a request from the then J&K government and a notification from the central government, taking over the investigation from the police that had filed the FIRs.

“The FIRs were registered on the allegations of bulk issuance of arms licences in the erstwhile state of J&K during the period 2012 to 2016. It was alleged that more than 2.78 lakh arms licences were issued to the non-entitled persons,” the investigating agency said in a news release. The CBI said it collected documents related to the issue of these licences in more than 22 districts.

During the investigation, CBI sleuths found the role of certain gun dealers, who allegedly in connivance with public servants had issued such illegal arms licences to the ineligible people.

As per CBI officials, it was alleged that the people who got these licences were not residents of the places from where permits were issued.

Last year, the CBI had arrested an IAS officer, Rajiv Ranjan, and another senior official, Itrat Hussain Rafiqui, for their alleged role in the issue of licences illegally in the border district of Kupwara in northern Kashmir. The agency had also arrested another person in the case.

This alleged scam was unearthed in 2017, when the Rajasthan anti-terror squad arrested some suspects working as middlemen for gun dealers. These people included the brother of Ranjan who later allegedly unraveled this interstate network of arms dealers, public servants and middlemen. Scores of arrests in several states were made in connection with this case.

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