The UP Special Task Force (STF) arrested former Samajwadi Party MLA Rakesh Singh early Tuesday after police raided his Aligarh residence and allegedly recovered a prohibited bore weapon. The .9 mm Brazilian-made pistol was allegedly purchased for Rs 4.5 lakh from a gang involved in a gunrunning racket, while its market price is around Rs 22 lakh, said an STF official.
Later in the day, the STF arrested five members of the gang including the one who had allegedly sold the pistol to Singh, who had contested the 2017 Assembly elections on an SP ticket from Chharra, but had lost.
STF deputy SP Rajkumar Mishra, who was part of the operation, said, “On Monday, we had received information about a gang which deals in foreign-made sophisticated firearms and was active in Aligarh, having sold an illicit weapon. Based on a tip-off, we raided former MLA Rakesh Singh’s flat at Royal Gayatri Apartments in the early hours on Tuesday. We recovered a .9mm Brazil-make pistol from a room and arrested Singh for possession of the prohibited bore weapon smuggled into the country. He was brought to the Kwarsi police station at around 2 am.”
He further said, “During interrogation, Rakesh Singh told us he had purchased the firearm recently from one Nagendra Pratap Singh for Rs 4.5 lakh. He also said that Nagendra and one of his associates, Ishaan Chaudhary, were involved in the illegal trade of selling foreign-made weapons in the country.”
Singh has been booked under sections 7/25/1A of the Arms Act. Mishra claimed that the pistol recovered from the former MLA was smuggled into India through Myanmar. Meanwhile, STF SSP Abhishek Singh said that based on the information given by the ex-MLA, they tracked Nagendra and got information that another delivery of a weapon consignment was about to take place in Lucknow.
“A team arrested Nagendra from Malhaur railway station in Lucknow with three live cartridges of .9mm and .32 bore weapons. His associate Ishaan and three others, identified as Wasim Ahmad, Suboor Anwar and Mohammad Anees, were later arrested from the railway station. The four accused had allegedly returned from Aizawl with a consignment of guns smuggled from the Myanmar border recently. Three foreign-made weapons including a (Skorpian VZ61) sub-machine gun made in the Czech Republic were recovered from these accused,” the SSP added.
During interrogation, Nagendra confessed that he had sold the pistol to the former MLA. He also confessed that they used to smuggle weapons from north-eastern borders and later sold it within India, the SSP said. According to STF officials, an FIR was lodged against the five accused arrested at Chinhat police station under various IPC sections including 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating).
SSP Singh said they were searching for another member of the gang, who was running the racket from Aizawl. They would also investigate if the former MLA’s role was confined to just purchasing the pistol, or whether he was part of the gunrunning racket.