New Delhi – Assets worth Rs 4.69 crore have been seized under the anti-money laundering law in a case related to the issuance of alleged illegal arms licenses in Jammu and Kashmir between 2012 and 2016, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on Saturday.
A temporary order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been issued for the seizure of bank deposits, land, apartments and residential houses, it said in a statement. communicated.
After carrying out raids on an IAS officer, Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) officers, government officials and arms dealers last month, the agency said it had seized ‘incriminating’ documents that would indicate dealings between arms dealers and bureaucrats in issuing arms licenses in Jammu and Kashmir between 2012 and 2016.
“J&K government officials, in collusion with numerous arms dealers, J&K brokers brazenly flouted arms licensing standards, procedures and rules in lieu of monetary considerations by abusing their official position in as public officials and generated enormous proceeds of crime,” the statement read.
The ED alleged that government officials used to take “commissions” from arms dealers and brokers from their own bank accounts as well as the accounts of their family members for obtaining gun licenses. weapons as well as for the renewal of defense personnel licenses.
Searches were carried out by the ED at 11 locations, including the residential premises of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) agent Rajeev Ranjan (former DC, Kupwara), KAS agents Itrat Hussain (former DC, Kupwara ) and Ravinder Kumar Bhatt (former ADC, Kupwara) and former Court Clerks in the Arms Section of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office (DC), Kupwara, Tariq Ather and Gajan Singh.
The residential premises of six arms dealers in Jammu and Kashmir including Amarnath Bhargava (Varun Armory), his brother Mukesh Bhargava (Bhargava Gun House), Surjeet Singh (Deshmesh Armory), Mohinder Kotwal (Mohinder Kotwal Arms and Ammunition) , Manohar Singh (Swaran Arms and Munitions) and Devi Dayal Khajuria (Khajuria Arms) were also searched.
Cash and gold jewelery worth more than Rs 2.50 crore was seized apart from property documents.
“Provisional proceeds of crime are expected to be in the range of Rs 40 crore,” the ED said.
The money laundering criminal case stems from an August 2018 FIR of the CBI (Special Crime Branch, Chandigarh) where it was alleged that the mass issuance of weapons licenses took place in Jammu- and Kashmir between 2012 and 2016.
Around 2.78 lakh of weapons licenses were issued to various defense and paramilitary personnel by “flouting” prescribed guidelines and due process instead of “illicit” monetary consideration that was paid to government agents/officials through arms dealers/brokers and proceeds of crime were generated, ED said.