issuance of gun licences :J&K consistently ranks first

espite the arrest of several high profile official ls by the CBI in fake gun licenses scam, Jammu and Kashmir still tops the list of states/UTs where arms licenses with all India permission, were issued during the past three years.Official data reveals that of the 22,805 fresh arms licences issued across the country between 2018 and September 15 this year, 17,905 were issued in J&K, which accounts for 78.51% of the licenses. In the same period a total of 94,400 arms licences with all India permission across the country, out of which, 14,172 were done in J&K. A total of 2,435 licenses were cancelled nationwide between January 1, 2018 and September 15, 2020 and most of these (1,911) were in Uttar Pradesh while J&K accounted for just three licenses. The CBI is already investigating alleged irregularities in the grant of over two lakh arms licenses in different districts of Jammu and Kashmir from 2012-2016. In March this year the probe agency had arrested former district magistrates Rajiv Ranjan (IAS) and Itrit Hussain Rafiqui in the case. The two officers were allegedly involved in issuance of a large number of gun licenses on the basis of forged documents.The J&K government had in 2018 recommended a CBI probe into the gun license racket after names of public officials, especially some IAS officers, surfaced during investigations carried out by Rajasthan police’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS). The unholy nexus between bureaucrats-middlemen-arms dealers was unraveled by the Rajasthan police’s ATS in 2017.The probe agency is investigating alleged irregularities in the grant of over two lakh arms licenses in different districts of Jammu and Kashmir.In December last year, the CBI had conducted simultaneous raids at 17 locations in Srinagar, Jammu and three other cities including Gurgaon (Haryana), Mohali (Punjab) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) covering houses and offices of eight former district magistrates/deputy commissioners in connection with the scam.

A senior police officer while expressing surprise over the issuance of new licenses with all-India permission from J&K, said, “If some of these licenses go into the hands of anti-national elements, it could prove costly. It is high time that the issuance of gun licenses in J&K is streamlined.”