James Bond would have loved them. And so would the underworld.
Pen pistols have found their way into western Uttar Pradesh, notorious for its gun culture and notions of ‘rough and ready justice’. It is the perhaps the first time the weapon has been seen in the state, police say.
The weapons first surfaced in Lisari Gate area of Meerut, 450 kilometres from Lucknow, when a police team seized six of them during a raid on a gun-runners’ hideout on January 27 this year. No further recovery has come to light.
Easy to tuck into pockets of shirts, trousers or jackets, the hard-to-spot firearm may well end up posing a threat to the security of very important persons (VIPs), says a senior police officer who refuses to be named. If fired from point-blank range, the weapon can kill the target, says the officer. And from a distance, it can inflict serious injuries, he adds.
As the name suggests, each weapon is shaped like a pistol and sized like a pen, though slightly heavier. Sub-inspector Ranveer Singh Yadav, who led the raid, recalls, “It was the first time in my six-year career that I saw a micro gun.”
Deputy inspector general of police (Meerut range) K Satyanarayan, who was the senior superintendent of police, Meerut, at the time of the raid also says he came across such weapons for the first time in his career.
No instance of pen pistols being used in UP have come to light but their detection is worrisome because though a metal detector will pick it up, the human eye is likely to miss it.
Before the seizure, even the Delhi Police were not aware of this tiny but lethal weapon. UP has transferred images of the pistol to their Delhi police colleagues.
The two alleged gun-runners arrested during the January raid told the police that they sourced the pen pistols from their contact who got them from Munger, a Bihar district notorious for its illegal firearms industry, at Rs. 1000 a piece.
They wanted to sell the weapons in Meerut for Rs. 20,000 each but were arrested before they could strike a deal.