NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched search operations across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the Arms licencing case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 against serving and retired bureaucrats, officials, and arms ammunition dealers on March 24.
On the basis of FIRs filed by the Special Crime Branch of the Central Bureau of Probe, Chandigarh, the ED launched a money-laundering investigation in the aforementioned matter on August 16, 2018.
Searches were carried out at 11 different sites, including the homes of Rajeev Ranjan IAS (former DC, Kupwara), Itrat Hussain KAS (former DC, Kupwara), Ravinder Kumar Bhatt KAS (former ADC Kupwara), Tariq Ather, and Gajan Singh (both former judicial clerks at Arms Section, DC Office Kupwara).
The ED officers also searched the homes of six J&K arms dealers, including Amarnath Bhargava (Varun Armoury), his brother Mukesh Bhargava (Bhargava Gun House), Surjeet Singh (Deshmesh Armoury), Mohinder Kotwal (Mohinder Kotwal Arms & Ammunition), Manohar Singh (Swaran Arms & Ammunition), and Devi Dayal Khajuria (Khajuria Arm
Late at night, searches were carried out, and several incriminating documents in the form of property records and loose papers exposing transactions between arms dealers/brokers and government officers/officials were collected and seized. During the search, cash worth Rs. 1.58 crore, 1.76 kgs of gold worth Rs. 92.30 lakhs (approximately), and digital exhibits were also confiscated.
The searches conducted were in furtherance of investigation being conducted in the said case wherein it was revealed that bulk issuance of arms licenses has taken place in Jammu and Kashmir between 2012 and 2016 which saw over 2.78 lakh arms licenses issued to various defense and paramilitary personnel by flouting the prescribed guidelines and due procedure in lieu of illicit monetary consideration which was paid to the Government officers/ officials through arms dealers/ brokers and proceeds of crime were generated by a conspiracy between Government officers/ officials and Arms dealers and Arms brokers which is criminal misconduct under Prevention of Corruption Act.
The initial estimation of Proceeds of crime generated in this case is to the tune of Rs 40 Crore.
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