A day after the customs authorities seized 11 pistols and 22 magazines smuggled from Pakistan by six Indian nationals, the police have hinted that the weapons could to be used in the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar district in UP.
The accused, identified as Razia Begum, Shehnaz Begum, Anees Ahmad, Rais Ahmad, Arif and Nasir Ahmad, hail from Muzaffarnagar.
Talking to mediapersons, RS Ghuman, superintendent of police, Government Railway Police, said, "We have got the custody of the six accused. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the total cost of the pistols is Rs 5.58 lakh and the weapons were likely to be distributed in Muzaffarnagar area."
Since the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner, Ghuman said, "The probe has just picked up but we cannot rule out that the weapons could have been used for violence during elections."
"We are not taking any chances. All the aspects will be looked into, including the money used in the smuggling bid. All the six Indian nationals had gone to Pakistan on tourist visa and had left last month," he said.
The GRP official said various security agencies would question the accused since the matter was very sensitive.
Shahnaz Begum, one of the accused, claimed that a woman named Hameeda handed over the grinder machines, in which pistols were found, to them at Lahore couple of days back.
"My sister lives in Gujranwala and we had gone to meet her. A person named Kaala met us in New Delhi and handed over some clothes to be delivered to Hameeda in Lahore. As soon as we reached Lahore, we handed over the clothes to Hameeda. When we were returning, Hameeda gave us the grinder machines and told that they be given to Kaala in Delhi. We never knew that there were pistols in these," Shahnaz said.
"We were paid Rs 30,000 for this and the money was shared by Kaala and Hameeda. But we did not know that there were pistols in it," she said.
However the police claimed that the money exchange angle was yet to be verified.
The accused's claim
Shahnaz Begum, one of the accused, said they handed over some clothes to Lahore-based Hameeda given to them by a man named Kaala in New Delhi. Hameeda, in return, gave them grinders machines meant to be delivered to Kaala, she claimed.
She further claimed they were paid Rs 30,000 for this and the money was shared by Kaala and Hameeda. The police say the money exchange angle will be verified.