Jammu, Mar 4: Four serving and retired bureaucrats and two former Ministers are on radar of the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) in two separate cases including arms licenses and Patnitop Master Plan violations, both of which are being investigated by Chandigarh office of the agency.
Describing arrest of IAS officer Kumar Rajiv Ranjan and retired Deputy Commissioner Itrit Hussain Rafiqui in arms license case the other day as “tip of iceberg”, sources told the Excelsior that role of four serving and retired bureaucrats was also under scanner by the CBI and possibility of more arrests in future can’t be ruled out.
Investigations have reportedly revealed that Rahul Grover, a conduit in arms license scam who was arrested from Kashmir few days prior to the arrest of IAS officer and retired DC, had made online payments from the bank account of his firm Rahul Consultancy to kin of one of the officers, which has become solid evidence for the investigating agency.
Grover had acted as conduit between Government officers and private persons mainly in Rajasthan for securing arms licenses for them from different districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
The arms license scam originating from eight districts of Jammu and Kashmir was first detected by the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of Rajasthan in 2017-18 as some anti-social elements in that State were found using licensed weapons which they couldn’t have managed in normal course due to their bad record. The ATS investigated the case and subsequently it was revealed that nearly two lakh arms licenses had been issued from eight districts.
Eight districts from where bulk arms licenses had been issued previously included Kupwara, Baramulla, Shopian and Pulwama, all in Kashmir valley and Udhampur, Kishtwar, Rajouri and Doda, all in Jammu region.
Investigations have reportedly revealed that a sample survey of licenses issued from Kupwara, a frontier district in North Kashmir, showed that no files or registers were maintained by the district authorities and many of the arms licenses may have been issued to outsiders on the basis of forged documents, sources said.
They added that the Rajasthan ATS has decided to go ahead with parallel investigations in the arms license case despite registration of separate and Regular Case by the CBI and will be questioning arrested IAS officer and retired Deputy Commissioner in the CBI custody at Chandigarh, if permitted by the premier investigating agency.
“The investigators were in the process of gathering evidence before acting against some other officers, both serving and retired, in the arms license case,” sources said.
They added that investigations in the Preliminary Enquiry registered by the CBI in Patnitop Master Plan violation has also reached crucial phase and names of two former Ministers have surfaced during the probe.
One of the former Ministers, according to sources, had illegally given permission for construction of a hotel during his tenure in Housing and Urban Development. He could be questioned shortly, they said.
On December 30, the CBI had conducted simultaneous raids at 17 locations in Srinagar and Jammu, the twin rotational capital cities of the UT, and three other cities including Gurgaon (Haryana), Mohali (Punjab) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) covering houses and offices of eight former District Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners in connection with issuance of over two lakh arms licenses during past few years especially from eight districts in the erstwhile State.
“In addition to receipt of gratification, the arms licenses had also been issued to non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir in violation of rules,” sources said.
The Agency had registered two FIRs in this regard with the consent of the Jammu and Kashmir Government with the then Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara listed as an accused in one of them, while unidentified officials of various districts had been mentioned in another FIR, sources said.
Jammu and Kashmir has issued more than four lakh gun licenses, second after most populated Uttar Pradesh.
According to sources, 1,32,321 of the 1,43,013 licenses in Jammu region’s Doda, Ramban and Udhampur districts were issued to those residing outside the Union Territory.
The figure for the entire Union Territory is 4,29,301, of which just 10 per cent were issued to residents in the erstwhile State.