In a major breakthrough, Lucknow police on Sunday recovered a dozen firearms and cartridges purchased on fake licences after the arrest of two key members of an illegal arms racket operational in several states of the country.
One of the members is a terminated constable of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The duo was arrested in Vibhuti Khand where they had come for a firearms deal.
The recovered firearms included seven 12-bore double barrel guns, four 12-bore single barrel guns and a revolver.
At least 43 live cartridges, eleven fake licences, six half-prepared licences and six rubber stamps of government officials of different states were also found in the racketeers’ possession.
“The gang prepares forged arms licences using stamp pads of licence issuing authorities of different states. They later purchase firearms from different gun houses and government ordinance factory as genuine purchasers. This is an entirely new trend in the notorious illegal firearms market that has been exposed recently after some back-to back arrests in different states. This gang has a nationwide nexus of arms dealers,” said Ravindra Kumar Singh, additional superintendent of police (ASP), crime.
He said the crime branch along with Vibhuti Khand police team and surveillance team carried out the entire operation after being tipped-off about the deal.
He said those arrested were identified as Hardoi residents Raj Kumar Singh, the terminated CRPF personnel and Sumit Srivastava.
“Raj Kumar learned the trick to prepare forged licence and procure firearms from authorised shops and factories from some people at Verma Gun House during his posting at CPRF’s 120 battalion in Barnala, Punjab. He gained extensive knowledge of different types of firearms during his posting there between 1991 and 1997. He was terminated for indiscipline when he did not return after going on leave in 1997. Since then, he is involved in this crime,” said Pankaj Singh, station officer of Vibhuti Khand police station.
Singh said Raj Kumar is suspected to have issued several forged licences in the past 15 years.
He got printed the forged firearms licence book from Leeta Printers (the printer press of his friend Sumit Srivastava) in Hardoi.
He said Sumit used to take 40% of the amount earned by selling the forged arms licence.
Singh led the entire operation along with incharge of surveillance cell, Nagendra Chaubey.
Chaubey said Raj Kumar purchased the recovered ar ms licence from different places.
“The revolver was purchased from Kanpur Ordinance Factory on forged arms licence while other guns were bought from different gun houses of Sitapur, Kannauj, Farukkhabad and Balia,” he added.