In a shocking revelation, Punjab Police on Wednesday admitted before the information commission that they have sold weapons seized from various criminals to VIPs without verifying the threat claims made by the buyers.
Over 400 such weapons have been sold in the past decade to state ministers, IAS and IPS officers, at throwaway prices. Most of these weapons are foreign-made (either German or Chinese).
The weapons, recovered by police, can be sold to those who apply for it. The government, however, has to assess if the applicant has a valid threat to his life or not.
“It is mandatory that allotment of firearms shall be made to the applicants facing an existing threat to their lives in the assessment of the allotting authority,” says the Union government’s 2001 instruction.
However, Public information officer of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, (which allots these weapons) told the state information commission during the resumed hearing of a case that it did not verify any such claim.
The spotlight has been on the home department, which monitors the whole process, after the commission during the hearing of a case ordered that the names of those who bought these weapons be made public.
The lists provided by the home department on orders of the commission included the names of over 400 persons who bought these weapons from January 1, 2005, onwards. According to lists, no weapons have been issued after June 2014.
The home department invites applications from persons who are interested in buying these weapons and a committee comprising senior PPA officers and representatives of gun houses fixes the price of these weapons.
Fingers have been raised at the entire process as a host of weapons which command a high market rate are sold at throwaway prices to VIPs.