Punjab Police have busted an interstate gang of gun runners dealing in bootleg weapons made in Bihar,Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The gang operated with the connivance of police personnel as,of the 15 persons arrested,seven are from the police force. Police claimed this gang was the main supplier of arms to Maoists and they were investigating its links with other terror groups.
Addressing a press conference here today,Director General of Police,Punjab,PS Gill said the operation to round up the gang was carried out by Mansa police and they had recovered 270 revolvers and pistols and more than 6000 cartridges. The guns,although counterfeit,were stamped with the insignia of renowned armament makers.
Gill said police were continuing their raids to apprehend 14 other persons involved in the racket. A case under sections 420,465,467,468 and 471 of IPC and Arms Act has been registered at Mansa City police station.
Now we will approach the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to seek assistance of the Central agencies for further investigation as some aspects of this case involve other states and only a central agency can look into them. Also,now all audit of ammunition in all the police stations in the state will be done to identify from where the ammunition was supplied,as there is fudging of the records. These cartridges are bought for Rs 8 per piece,then smuggled further and sold for Rs 30 and even Rs 45 per piece, said Gill.
Gill said Mahesh Kumar,owner of India Gun House in Mansa; Arvinder Singh Pappu and Anil Middha,owners of Hindustan Gun House,Sirsa and Nand Kishore,owner of Tammana Armoury along with some others had set up the gang. The modus operandi of the gang was to buy revolvers or pistols at a cost of Rs 35,000 each and then sell them in Punjab at prices ranging from Rs 80,000 to Rs 2 lakh on forged documents. They got the fake bills madethrough Chiranji Lal and Sons Arms and Ammunition Dealer in Thanesar,Harkamaljit Singh of Avtar Gun House,Amritsar and Nand Kishore and his wife Neelam Rani of Tammana Armoury,Moga. Gill claimed that the gang has till date sold three to four thousand bootleg weapons in Punjab and other states.
The gangs chief Anil Middha allegedly had close links with sympathisers of Maoists in Bihar through Mahesh Kumar,whose illegal arms factory in Firozabad was unearthed by the Mansa police. Now we have to verify the people to whom these weapons were sold and these arms dealers will be black listed, said Gill.
Gill said Anil Middha is already a proclaimed offender with Bihar Police,as he is wanted in a case there.
He added that after a thorough verification of arms and ammunition dealers records,a huge quantity of illegal arms is expected to be recovered in the coming days. He said there were some inputs regarding police personnel conniving with arms dealers and these were being investigated.