BHOPAL: As a multi-agency probe into the alleged inter-state AK-47 gunrunning racket has gathered pace in the last week, more skeletons are tumbling out of the closet of the country’s defence and national security apparatus.
A joint probe by the Madhya Pradesh and Bihar police along with the Military Intelligence and Central intelligence agencies have revealed a strong possibility of around 3-4 serving civilian officers of the local defence establishment being part of the nefarious racket involved in smuggling discarded AK-47 rifles and their parts from 506 Army Base Workshop in Jabalpur town.
“There could be 3-4 more civilian officers who also could be key facilitators of the racket, just like serving COD civilian officer Suresh Thakur. More action is likely in the coming days in the case,” Jabalpur district police superintendent Amit Singh told The New Indian Express on Thursday.
Interrogation of retired armourer of Indian Army Purshottam Lal and Thakur have revealed that another retired armourer of the Indian Army who hails from Bihar, but now settled in Lucknow, may be involved in the racket. He worked with Purshottam in the Army in various locations of the country and after retirement helped start this racket.
Meanwhile, four days after arresting 54-year-old Purshottam Lal from MP’s Rewa district, the cops arrested his wife Chandrawati and 26-year-old son Shilendra on Thursday.
The discarded/condemned AK-47 rifles which were sent by the armed forces and paramilitary forces to local defence establishment in Jabalpur for smelting were handed over to Purshottam by Thakur since 2012.
“These discarded/condemned assault rifles were re-assembled by Purshottam at a makeshift gun making unit at his house in Jabalpur. These guns were subsequently transported in train by Purshottam and wife Chandrawati to Bihar for delivery to gunrunner Imran Alam, who was arrested in Munger by Bihar police along with three AK-47 rifles, magazines and spares on August 29,” said Singh.
“The couple embarked on train journey from Katni railway station in MP along with the AK-47 rifles consignment destined for Bihar, as there was no X-ray scanner at Katni railway station that could detect the assault rifles stashed in the bag,” said Singh.
The gunrunner Imran arrested in Munger on August 29 is a close relative of the retired armourer now living in Lucknow. His other relative Shamsher, who too resides in Munger district is the missing link of the supply chain that ultimately sold the re-assembled AK-47 rifles to criminals in Bihar, East UP and Bengal.
The Jabalpur police have so far seized Rs 11.78 lakh cash from Purshottam Lal and Suresh Thakur, besides several AK-47 parts from the illegal gun making unit being run by Purshottam at his house.