IN A major breakthrough, the Special Task Force (STF) sleuths arrested a constable and claimed to have busted a racket of supplying police ammunition to the Nepal-based Maoists and Naxalites on Indo-Nepal border and underworld gangs illegally.
The cops nabbed the constable posted as armourer with Sant Kabir Nagar Police Lines and recovered 867 cartridges of A-K 47 rifle and 90 of .38 bore from his possession. The constable confessed to have stolen the cartridges from magazines of the arms stored in the Police Lines.
Earlier, acting on a tip-off, ASP Vijay Bhushan and DySP Vikas Tripathi laid a trap near Badshah Nagar Crossing and caught constable Shauqat Ali. The STF team searched the bag in Ali’s possession and found huge quantity of cartridges concealed in two separate polythene bags.
During the course of interrogation, Ali revealed that he used to collect cartridges in small quantity daily while leaving from the duty. All kinds of cartridges were stored in the armoury of the Police Lines. He had only thing to ensure that the cartridges were replaced with the blank ones.
To get the blank cartridges, Ali had made arrangement at Sitapur-based Central Reserve Police armoury. He used to acquire the used shells from an armourer against a petty price. Ali was engaged in replacing blank cartridges at Sant Kabir Nagar police arsenal and used to steal semi-automatic ones instead.
The STF officials said that Ali has revealed names of few of his associates including some policemen who purchase the stolen cartridges from Ali.
The sleuths, however, did not specify the names of the criminals or particular groups among naxalites and the Maoists whom Ali was supplying the ammunition.
Police sources revealed that even a single cartridge could not be stolen without replacing it with a blank one. The shells were easily stolen from the central reserve armoury at Sitapur during the process of melting it, said the sources.
The blank cartridges were melted to avoid illegal supply. But, lower rung policemen at the armoury steal the blank shells easily while taking it for the melting process. These shells were sold out later to the people like Ali, the sources added.