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IAS officer among two held by CBI in arms licensing case

The CBI has arrested an IAS officer and a former deputy commissioner from Kashmir in connection with a case pertaining to fraudulent issue of gun licences in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The agency arrested IAS officer Rajiv Ranjan and Itrit Hussain Rafiqui after investigation revealed that they had allegedly issued gun licences through fraudulent means. Both are former district magistrates of Kupwara district.

The CBI had registered a case in the matter after taking over a state police FIR in 2018. The FIR had alleged that during the 2012-2016 period, then deputy commissioners of various districts of Jammu and Kashmir, including Kupwara, “fraudulently and illegally issued bulk arms licenses in lieu of monetary consideration”.

“During further investigation conducted by CBI, the alleged role of Sh. Itrit Hussain Rafiqi and Sh. Rajiv Ranjan, IAS, both posted then Distt. Magistrates Kupwara, J&K has been surfaced during their tenure as Distt. Magistrates, Kupwara, J&K from the year 2013 to 2015 and from 2015 to 2016 respectively, “ a statement from CBI said. The CBI in December last year conducted searches on the premises of both the officers.

These searches were part of searches at 17 locations in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi NCR and Punjab. “CBI conducted searches at locations spread over Srinagar, Jammu, Gurgaon, Mohali and Noida at the premises of then DC/DM Kupwara, Barmula, Udhampur, Kishtwar, Sopian, Rajouri, Doda, Pulwama, in an ongoing investigation of two cases related to allegations of issuance of around two lakh Arms Licences from different Districts of Jammu & Kashmir by their respective DC/DM, “ CBI spokesperson Nitin Wakankar had then said. Alleging corruption on part of these bureaucrats, Wakankar had said, “It was also alleged that the then Public Servants in this conspiracy of issuance of Licences to non-residents of J&K in violation of rules, allegedly received gratification.”

CBI sources said the searches led to recovery of several documents, including bank statements.

Rajasthan Police in 2017-18 unearthed a gun licence racket and found that thousands of licences had been issued by authorities in various districts of Jammu and Kashmir in a fraudulent manner. It was found that many of the people who received the gun licences had criminal records.

The then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir N N Vora handed over the probe to CBI. On July 12, 2018, the Governor revoked individual gun licences issued between January 2017 and February 2018.

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.

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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