The bullets used by the Maoists to kill 76 CRPF jawans in Dantewada might have come from the ammunition depots of CRPF and Uttar Pradesh police.
The UP Special Task Force (STF) on Friday busted a gang consisting of working and retired police personnel that was involved in supplying ammunitions from the police armory to the Maoists and insurgent groups active in various parts of the country.
STF sleuths nabbed two armourers Vinod Paswan and Vinesh Singh posted at CRPF group center, Rampur, a state police armourer Nathi Ram posted at Bhimrao Ambedkar police Academy, Moradabad and a retired armourer Yashoda Nand Singh based at Allahabad.
A huge cache of cartridges used in INSAS rifle, AK-47, .38 bore revolver, 9mm pistol and 7.62 bore SLR rifle was recovered from their possession. The policemen team also seized large quantity of empty cartridges.
The ADG (Law and Order), Brij Lal said after the killing of the CRPF jawans in an ambush by the Maoists in Dantewada (Chattisgarh) on April 6 the SSP, STF Naveen Arora was tipped off that ammunitions as well as parts of the firearms was being supplied to the Maoists and anti social elements by a person based in Allahabad.
Through electronic surveillance and with the assistance of the informers the STF team zeroed on Yashoda Nand Singh the kingpin running the ammunition racket with the assistance of CRPF and state police armourers. On Friday the STF team was tipped off that a person was arriving from Allahabad to Rampur to collect the consignment of the ammunition.
The STF sleuths nabbed Yashoda Nand Singh, Vinod Pswan and Vinesh Singh from near a flyover in Civil Lines area of Rampur located 400 km west of Lucknow. The police team seized 1658 cartridges used in INSAS rifle, 600 cartridges of .38 bore revolver, 2860 cartridges of 9 mm pistol, 4 cartridges of AK- 47 and 28 cartridges of 7.62 bore self loading rifle from the trio.
Seven magazine of AK- 47, 6 of SLR, 1 of 9mm pistol and 1 magazine of INSAS rifle was also seized along with 34 kg empty cartridges of AK- 47, 9 kg empty cartridges of 7.62 bore SLR, 41 kg empty cartridges of 9mm pistol, 44 kg empty cartridges of INSAS rifle, 77 kg of light machine gun, 33 kg empty catridges of 303 bore rifle, five ammunition boxes, parts of firearms and Rs 1.76 lakh cash was also seized.
The interrogation of the trio indicated that network of ammunition racket was spread to the armory of UP Provincial Armed Police (PAC) and UP civil police located at Allahabad, Kanpur, Robertsganj, Mirzapur, Jhansi, Varanasi, Basti, Gonda and Chandauli. Later the police team nabbed two armourer of Jhansi police line, one armourer each posted at Varanasi, Chandauli, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Allahabad and Kanpur police line.
Brij Lal informed that initial interrogation of the trio indicates that they were supplying ammunition to the Maoists and insurgents for last one year. “The state police department has planned to constitute a team to interrogate all the armourers taken into custody jointly”, he said.
The district police had registered FIR against Vinod, Vinesh and Yashoda at Civil Lines police station Rampur. A separate FIR was registered against Nathi Ram at civil lines police station, Moradabad.
The interrogation of all police personnel taken into custody was continuing and involvement of the senior police officers of PAC and civil police in ammunition racket could not be ruled out.
How did the armourer managed to supply the cartridges of the CRPF and state police to the Maoists and insurgents?
The ADG (Law and Order) Brij Lal said the empty cartridges were an important tool in the racket. Each year large quantity of ammunition is supplied to the CRPF, PAC and civil police for shooting practice by the jawans. The armourers deputed at the CRPF group center, PAC battalion headquarter and civil police lines are custodian of the ammunition. They keep the record of the cartridges used in the firing and available in the stores.
During interrogation of Yashoda, Vinesh and Vinod the police team came to know that they used to show use of more cartridges than actually used by the jawans during the shooting session. The live cartridges were transported out of the armory and handed to the clients.
According to the rules the empty cartridges are cut to pieces and sold as scrap. Here again the armourers used to store the empty to exchange it with the live cartridges. While empty cartridge was kept in the armoury the live on was dispatched to the prospective buyer.
All the cartridges are of prohibited bore and not available in the open market. The Maoist and insurgents are armed with sophisticated weapons including AK- 47 INSAS rifle and SLR. They are dependent on the smugglers and often poach on the police armory to get the cartridges.