J&K IAS officer says CBI searched his premises, found nothing incriminating

Amid the searches at 40 locations by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the illegal arms licences case, IAS officer Shahid Choudhary broke his silence saying that the agency searched his premises and found nothing incriminating.

In a tweet Choudhary said, “With reference to media reports I have to confirm that CBI did search my residence and found nothing incriminating in ongoing arms license probe. Media friends may note the probe covers four years across all distts. I am fully answerable to CBI for my tenure.”

He also attached a sheet with his tweet of the stats from his tenure.

In his statement, Choudhary said, “Tenure in three districts: Out of 4.49 lakh arms licences issued in J&K between 2012-16, only 56,000 (12.4 per cent) issued in three districts of Raesi, Kathua and Udhampur where I served as DM.”

He said that this is not “disproportionate”.

Choudhary added that “lowest number: of the 56,000 licences issues in three districts — Raesi, Udhampur and Kathua — between 2012-16, only 1,720 were issued in my tenure — three percent of all licences issued in three districts in four years or during the period under investigation and 0.38 per cent of all such licences issued in J&K.

He said the licences issued in three districts under his tenure have been among the lowest by any DM in any district.

The officer stated that “procedural irregularity: oversight or procedural indiscretion in few cases cannot be completely ruled out as this passes through several clerical stages”.

“Of the 36,000 licences issued in Udhampur between 2012-16, only 1,500 odd (less than four per cent) issued under my tenure. I have complied with agency queries, committed to do so in future also,” he added.

His remarks came amid the CBI searches at 40 locations, including the residential premises of two IAS officials, in Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi in connection with its probe into alleged illegal arms license case.

A CBI spokesperson in Delhi said that the agency is conducting searches at around 40 locations including Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Rajouri, Anantnag, Baramulla, Delhi at the official and residential premises of certain then public servants (including IAS, KAS Officers, then DM, then ADM etc).

The official said that it is also carrying put searches at around 20 gun houses or dealers in an on-going investigation of a case related to the arms licence racket.

Another CBI official said that searches began early morning on Saturday.

An agency source revealed that the CBI is carrying out searches at the premises of former Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, and another IAS official Neeraj Kumar, among others.

The CBI had registered two cases on the request of the J&K government and further orders from the central government and taken over the investigation of two FIRs on May 17, 2018 on the allegations of bulk issuance of arms licenses in the erstwhile state of J&K during the period 2012 to 2016. It was alleged that more than 2.78 lakh arms licences were issued to non-entitled persons.