Illegal Gun-making Unit Busted in Vellore Village, One Arrested
The Organised Crime Investigation Unit (OCIU) has busted an illegal country-made gun manufacturing unit in Kodaikkal in the district, besides arresting a habitual offender and seizing raw materials used to manufacture guns.
The OCIU’s month-long operation, which ended late on Sunday, found that gun-making has been thriving like a cottage industry in the tiny village, located 45 km from the district headquarters.
Several persons, who learnt the art of making guns from their forefathers, continue with their illegal business and make good money. They make guns, which are deadly in the range of 60 to 80 feet, and sell them for anything between `5,000 and `10,000.
“Nearly 10 families had been involved in gun-making for decades in the village, which falls under the jurisdiction of Kondapalayam Police Station,” said sources in the police department, adding that they deliver the guns to customers wherever they want with the help of gypsies, who possess gun licences, but charge extra for transportation.
M Devendran (60), who was booked under the Goondas Act twice, R Padmanaban (40) and his brother R Sekar (47) and V Srinivasan (40) of Kammar Street in Kodaikkal and M Ravi (46) of Kalai Nagar were criminals engaged in the illegal activity.
Cases had been filed against them in Sholinghur, Kondapalayam and Jamunamaruthur under the Indian Arms Act since 1995. They are believed to be carpenters.
Though the police personnel in the local station were aware that the carpenters don a dual role - regular work after dawn and gun-makers after dusk - they failed to take concrete action to prevent it.
The carpenters were making the guns for gypsies, hunters, sandalwood smugglers and bootleggers in the northern districts, particularly for their customers in Kancheepruam, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai, and Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh.
Some villagers claimed that the corrupt police officers remained silent over the illegal gun-making unit in exchange for money.
The OCIU team’s operation succeeded with the arrest of Ravi, who apparently mastered gun-making in just a few hours.
The police personnel, posing as prospective buyers, approached Ravi, who agreed to manufacture a gun for `6,000 after a lot of bargaining. The police caught him red-handed with the newly-made gun and raw materials from his house.
The team handed him over to Kondapalayam police who filed a case against Ravi under the Indian Arms Act and remanded him in the Vellore Central Prison for Men. The police also launched a hunt for Devendran and Sekar, who were absconding.