No farewell to arms as UP dons flout norms, hold multiple licences
Three licences each are issued in the names of Mukhtar Ansari and his son Abbas. Abbas, who contested 2017 assembly polls as BSP candidate from Mau’s Ghoshi constituency, has purchased multiple firearms on a single licence, according to the review.Updated: Sep 30, 2019, 07:11 IST
Uttar Pradesh needs to bite the bullet when it comes to dealing with the problem of multiple firearms licences, officials indicate.
As it is, the state tops in the number of firearms licences and accounts for 37% of them in the country. Moreover, police officials said a recent review revealed as many as 10 alleged criminals- turned-politicians and their family members owned multiple licences flouting government norms.
The review by the state police revealed 23 firearms licences were issued in the names of Mukhtar Ansari, who is one of the most dreaded alleged mafioso-turned-politicians, and his family members some of whom ‘have long criminal records’, an official said. Mukhtar Ansari is lodged in jail.
Three licences each are issued in the names of Ansari and his son Abbas. Abbas, who contested 2017 assembly polls as BSP candidate from Mau’s Ghoshi constituency, has purchased multiple firearms on a single licence, according to the review.
A senior police official privy to the review report said 22 firearms licences were issued to Ansari family members from their native Ghazipur district. Abbas’s licence was issued from Lucknow, he said.
He also said Abbas had purchased six foreign-make firearms on one licence in blatant violation of the firearms licence norms. In addition, Abbas’s licence was transferred to Delhi without taking a clearance report from the Lucknow police five years ago, he added.
“It is a gross violation of government norms that so many firearms were issued with so much ease to one family, some of whose members have a long criminal history,” he said.
“The report related to transfer of Abbas and purchase of multiple firearms on one license has already been pending with Lucknow police but the officials are yet to initiate action on it,” he said.
Ansari is in jail since 2006. There were at least 45 criminal cases, including the 2005 murder of BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai, against him. He was recently acquitted in the BJP legislator’s murder due to lack of evidence.
The official said Ansari’s was not the only case. Similarly, three firearms licences each were issued in the names of another alleged gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his wife Shaishta Parveen. He said 190 criminal cases were registered against Atiq Ahmad since 1979. He is lodged in a Gujarat jail. Atiq is also facing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the case of alleged kidnapping of a Lucknow realtor on December 25, 2018 and torturing him after taking him to Deoria jail where he was lodged till December 31, 2018.
The official said similarly other names on the list were the aides of slain gangster Prem Prakash Singh alias Munna Bajrangi and three other alleged gangster-turned politicians from Jaunpur, Varanasi and Gorakhpur.
A home department official, who refused to be named, said as per the data of the home ministry issued in December 2016, the country had 33.69 lakh active gun licences.
“UP has the highest number of 12.58 lakh people having gun licences followed by militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, where 3. 69 lakh people possess arms licences,” he said. He said Punjab stood third on the list with over 3.59 lakh active gun licences.
Confirming the review report, inspector general (IG) of police, Special Task Force, Amitabh Yash said the misuse of licensed firearms could not be checked until the entire trade was brought on a digital platform— either the sale of weapons or cartridges.
DGP writes to state govt, expresses concern
The trend of issuance of fake firearms licences also exists in the state, the officials said. Several cases were detected in Kanpur, Gautam Buddhnagar, Saharanpur and Gorakhpur districts, said police officials privy to the review report.
They said these fake firearms licenses were used in issuing cartridges from authorised gun houses in different districts. While some incidents of issuing cartridges on fake licences were detected in Lucknow, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, the trend existed in all 75 districts of the state, they said.
Taking serious note of the matter, director general of police (DGP) OP Singh wrote a letter to the state government on August 28, raising concerns over sale of firearms and cartridges in such blatant violation of norms. In the letter, he mentioned the threat to internal security due to arbitrary sale and purchase of firearms and cartridges.
The DGP mentioned it was necessary to keep watch on the sale of firearms and cartridges to curb crime and incidents of celebratory firing. He also recommended initiating legal action against people with a criminal background having firearms licences.