BHOPAL: Earlier, it was the deadly combination of gilli-danda sourced from jungles of Madhya Pradesh which was used by organized criminals and contract killers in various parts of the country to eliminate their targets.
But now it's the power of battery and SIM cards sourced from the same forests of the central Indian state that are in demand in customers spread in 19 states, particularly Delhi and NCR, besides Maharashtra.
The arrest of two gun-runners by the MP Police's Special Task Force (MPSTF) from Morena district of Gwalior-Chambal region recently has not only led the state's cops to a consignment of seven newly made semi-automatic pistols, but also revealed change in modus operandi of the gunrunners and gun-makers operating from forest rich hillocks of West MP's Indore region.
The grilling of the gunrunner Satnam Singh aged around 20-22 years and his tribal aide Makhan Damode, both natives of West MP's Khargone district has revealed that the gun runners have now changed the secret codes used for dealing with customers.
"A few months back Gilli-Danda was used as secret code for pistols-bullets, then it was changed to Danda and Daana. Now the secret code for the deadly combination has changed to Battery for pistols and SIM Cards for bullets. These codes are used by the gunrunners while dealing with their customers over the phone or the WhatsApp messenger service," said an MPSTF source who is connected with investigations and grilling of the arrested duo.
These secret codes help the gun runners to shield their deals from cops, while their phones are on surveillance, as well as for duping the cops on the ground if caught during the negotiation of a future deal, said the part of the team led by inspector Chetan Singh Bains which arrested the duo recently in Morena.
"Not only are the gunrunners proactively using the WhatsApp messenger service to share details, including pictures of weapons on sale with customers, but a few of them are also using e-mail accounts, whose passwords are known to both parties, helping them to get information saved in the draft option of the concerned mail accounts," said sources connected with the probe.
The arrested gunrunner Satnam Singh hails from the Sikligar community, whose ancestors made weapons for the army of Tenth Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh. The Sikligar who are engaged in the illegal business of gun making and gunrunning are mostly living in the jungles of West MP's Khargone, Khandwa, Barwani, Dhar and Burhanpur districts.
These gun makers use the dense forests and hillocks to make the pistols and even carbines for customers who are spread across 19 states of the country, particularly UP, Maharashtra, Delhi and NCR, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat.
Grilling of Satnam Singh who supplied arms to men in Morena, Gwalior and Bhind district for prices ranging between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 has also revealed that the seized guns after being sold in the districts of Gwalior-Chambal region would have made their way into the hands of organized criminals and contract killers in West UP, Delhi and NCR for prices ranging between Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000.
Both Satnam and tribal aide Makhan Damode travelled in different coaches of train to Morena, but Makhan was used as the courier for delivering the arms later. But their plan was busted by the cops before the deal could be completed. Just a few days back, one of the customers who had sourced five pistols from Satnam had been arrested in Gwalior, since when the gunrunner from Khargone district of West MP was STF cops radar.
The duo's grilling has also brought to the fore that the customers continue to make payments to gunrunners using electronic wallets and payment apps, including the Paytm.
Semi-automatic pistols made by the sikligars in the jungles of West MP have often been seized from criminals in various parts of MP, including many times in Delhi and NCR.
In 2009, the pistols seized from Chota Shakeel gang's contract killers assigned to kill BJP leader Varun Gandhi in UP were found to be sourced from a sikligar (gunrunner) Pyar Singh who was operating in Barwani district of MP.
Also, there have been reports of the use of firearms made in jungles of MP by alleged terror operatives in the 2008 serial blasts in Ahmadabad and even in the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017.