Investigation into recent recoveries of AK-47 rifles from Munger has revealed that at least 60 such rifles had been siphoned off by a former employee of an ordnance depot in Jabalpur and supplied to arms dealers of Munger.
While Madhya Pradesh confirmed the origin of the seized weapons, Bihar Police said that most of these rifles had been supplied to arms suppliers of Bardah village of Munger. The arms were found to be coming from the ordnance depot that keeps defective and overused weapons in its store for dismantling.
While Central Ordnance Depot at Jabalpur has not yet provided its record books on defective weapons to MP Police, preliminary probe has suggested laxity in security at the depot.
The trail of weapons supply started with seizure of three AK-47 rifles from Jamalpur, Munger, on August 29 from one Mohammed Imran of Bardah village. Imran’s arrest led to the chain of arms supply from the Jabalpur depot. So far, Munger Police has recovered 20 AK-47 rifles, said to be siphoned from the ordnance depot. While Munger Police has arrested 11 people, MP Police has arrested two people in this connection.
The modus operandi was simple — two employees at the depot, Purushottam Lal (now retired) and Suresh Thakur (serving as an officer) allegedly took defective weapons and parts from other weapons for reassembling.
Jabalpur IG Anant Kumar Singh told The Indian Express: “Lal had access to the store where defective weapons were kept. It seems there was poor record-keeping of these weapons and security at gates may have been lax. Lal told us about siphoning of weapons since 2012, when he was serving. Later, he did it with help of another officer employed at the depot, Suresh Thakur”.
The IG said they had sought record-keeping details from the depot. “Lal had told us about taking at least 60 weapons from the depot,” he said.
Bihar IG (Operations) Kundan Krishnan said: “What is disconcerting is involvement of officers from Jabalpur Ordnance Depot and a retired Armyman re-employed at Defence Service Corps at Siliguri, Mohammed Gulshad alias Gulo, a resident of Bardah, Munger and brother-in-law of Imran, who was the first person to be arrested. As Lal and Gulshad knew each other, Imran was introduced by Gulshad to Lal to work as a conduit.”
Munger SP Babu Ram said a joint team of Munger Police and special task force on Thursday recovered 12 AK-47 rifles from a well in fields of Bardah, where every household had been searched for weapons in the last month.