NEW DELHI: In what appears to be the biggest arms haul in recent years, the special cell of Delhi Police has seized a consignment comprising 1,800 cartridges and 11 single and double-barreled guns. Three persons, including the kingpin, have been arrested in this connection.
The trio has been identified as Ashok Singh, Rakesh Sharma and Ajay. Police also claim to have unearthed a new module of gunrunners led by Singh, which allegedly diverts ordnance factory-made weapons and ammunitions to anti-social elements.
Singh, the son of a retired deputy SP, runs a gun shop in Etah in UP, cops said adding that the seized weapons should ideally have gone to people having valid gun licences. But Singh had been selling them to criminals in lieu of huge money. Police are trying to track down the gangs of criminals who had placed the order for the consignment.
Special commissioner S N Shrivastava said the seized cartridges were of .22, 7.65 and .315-bore weapons. The consignment also included nine double-barreled breech loading and two single-barreled shot guns.
“On March 22, a team led by DCP Sanjeev Yadav received a tip-off about Ashok Singh coming to ISBT Sarai Kale Khan in a white Swift Dzire car to meet some receivers. Suspect Ashok was spotted but he moved towards Wazirabad on the Ring Road and reached ISBT Kashmere Gate where another person boarded the vehicle. The car moved towards Gopalpur and stopped at a secluded spot. They were apprehended while they were exchanging the bags,” said Shrivastava.
The preliminary interrogation of the accused has revealed theirs was an interstate arms syndicate. Singh, who owns Ashok Arms Store in Etah, used to procures arms and ammunitions though his authorized quota from different dealers located in Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Moradabad, Etah etc.
“Each and every piece of the firearm/ammunition requires a transport licence (TL) to be transported. Singh collected the required TLs from big arms dealers and carried them to Etah. However, instead of updating his stock records and submitting the information to district authorities, he siphoned off the arms through a chain of peddlers,” said DCP Yadav.
“He had been exploiting systemic flaws in the audit of gun shops. Local administrative staff who are supposed to keep a tab on the stock of licensed arms dealers in their area could also be involved in the racket,” Yadav added.
Rakesh Sharma, one of the arrested persons, used to receive consignments from Ashok Singh. He would then supply them to NCR, Madhya Pradesh and some parts of UP. Their interrogation has revealed that of late, the demand for single and double-barreled guns has seen a rise in NCR as fake licences are prepared to sell the same to private security firms.
Police said Singh had been involved in the illegal arms trade since 1974. He was also found to be involved in a fake note case.
Sharma came in Singh’s contact through a local criminal. “Belonging to Morena, MP and having been involved in several cases in Jhansi, UP, Rakesh has a deep knowledge of various criminal networks that helped him expand the business of the syndicate,” Yadav added.