The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said that they had conducted search operations on premises of serving and retired officials and arms dealers across Jammu and Kashmir on March 24 in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering case pertaining to the arms license case.
Initial estimation of proceeds of crime generated in this case, where arms licenses were given to various persons by flouting rules and bribes paid through various means, is to the tune of Rs 40 crore, an ED official said.
“Various incriminating documents in the form of property documents and loose papers revealing transactions between the arms dealers, brokers and government officials were recovered and seized. Also, cash amounting to Rs 1.58 crore, 1.76 kg of gold worth Rs 92.30 lakh and digital exhibits were seized during the course of search operation,” the official added.
The ED initiated money laundering investigation in the case on the basis of FIRs registered by the Special Crime Branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Chandigarh in 2018.
The ED official said that search operation were conducted at the premises of IAS officer Rajeev Ranjan, a former Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara, Kashmir Administrative Service officer Itrat Hussain, also a former Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara, and Ravinder Kumar Bhatt, a former Additional Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara, Tariq Ather and Gajan Singh (both former judicial clerks at Arms Section, DC Office Kupwara).
Residential premises of arms dealers Amarnath Bhargava (Varun Armoury), his brother Mukesh Bhargava (Bhargava Gun House), Surjeet Singh (Deshmesh Armoury), Mohinder Kotwal (Mohinder Kotwal Arms and Ammunition), Manohar Singh (Swaran Arms & Ammunition) and Devi Dayal Khajuria (Khajuria Arms) were also searched by the ED officers.
It was learnt that bulk issuance of arms licenses took place in Jammu and Kashmir between 2012 and 2016 with 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 officials through arms brokers.
Proceeds of crime were generated by conspiracy between the officials and dealers/brokers, which was a criminal misconduct under Prevention of Corruption Act, the ED said, adding that further investigation is underway.