Pune City Police said they have recovered 18 country-made pistols and 27 live cartridges from six youngsters arrested in Hadapsar area.
The accused were identified as Arbaz Rashid Khan (21), Suraj Kunal Namdev Shejwal (19), Jayesh Raju Gaikwad (23), and Sharad Bansi Mallav (21) – all residents of Shirur – along with Suraj Ramesh Chinchne alias Gulya (22) of Fursungi, and Vikas Bhagat Taur alias Maharaj (28) of Yerwada.
Based on a tip-off, a team from the Hadapsar police station arrested the six accused on Sunday. During a search, the police initially recovered one pistol from them, but later found 17 more, along with live cartridges, at their residence and other locations.
Police also recovered a stolen motorcycle from the accused, they said. They estimated the value of the seized firearms and motorcycle at Rs 5.68 lakh.
“This is the biggest firearms seizure so far in Pune City Police’s jurisdiction,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone V) Suhas Bavache said. “The accused have criminal backgrounds. Arbaz Shaikh and Vikas Bhagat had been involved in illegal firearms trade. Arbaz is wanted in a case lodged in Manchar police station of Pune rural police.”
He added, “Probe so far has revealed that firearms were procured from areas on the border of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Maharashtra. Our teams will be recovering more firearms in this case. We suspect the accused were possessing and planning to sell these firearms to criminal elements in the city…”
Police are probing the links of the accused with larger illegal firearms rackets involving illegal manufacturers of pistols in MP.
Last month, following a four-month long operation, which also involved police personnel posing as criminals to purchase weapons, Pimpri-Chinchwad police had recovered 47 pistols and 68 cartridges from about 15 people. Those arrested included Mansingh Bhatia, alias Sardar, from Dhar district in MP, who is one of the key racketeers in supplying illegal firearms to criminals in Maharashtra.
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