Three policemen have been arrested from Uttar Pradesh for their suspected involvement in what is known here as the cartridges scam which involved smuggling of arms from government armouries and selling them to Maoists, an official said on Friday.
The scam was busted in April after the arrest of a retired sub-inspector Yashodanandan Singh from Rampur, some 300 km from here. Yashodanandan was the kingpin of the racket.
Of the three armourers arrested on Thursday, Om Prakash and Vinod Kumar were arrested from Varanasi, while Banwari Lal was arrested from Kanpur on Thursday by a police team of Rampur district.
"The three armourers have been arrested on the inputs provided by Yashodanandan, who is the prime-accused in the case," police inspector R.P. Singh Friday told reporters in Rampur.
"Preliminary investigations reveal, the three could also be involved in smuggling of ammunition from government armouries, which were later passed on to Yashodanandan through various channels," he added.
The scam was unearthed by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) in April. Besides Yashodanandan, five others, including two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, three police personnel were arrested from Rampur, Moradabad and Jhansi districts for allegedly selling arms and ammunition to Maoists.
Over 5,000 live cartridges of pistols, carbine, AK 47, SLR (Self-Loading Rifle) and other weapons were recovered along with around 250 kg of shells and other arms components from their possession.