|Early Times Report |
Jammu, Oct 19: Though Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started a probe into over 4 lakh arms licenses issued in Jammu and Kashmir, many on forget documents, the renewal of arms licenses has been going unabated in various districts of the state.
Sources in the Revenue department told Early Times that there was no let up in the renewal of the arms licenses issued from various districts of the state. "The government fee for the renewal of arms license is Rs 1500, but many agents have been working in district headquarters and get the licenses renewed in return of hefty amount paid to the officials", sources said, adding that as per norms the arms license was to be renewed from the same district where it was issued.
"Most of the licenses have been issued from various districts of the state on the name of the forces personnel. These personnel belong to other states, and if they themselves visit the district officials, they are told to complete many formalities and it takes many days to complete the same. But there is another option: to take the help of agents and arms license dealers", sources said, adding that even as a fee has been fixed, the commission of the agent as well as the officials involved in the entire process was also fixed.
Sources further informed that there was no record maintained by the department officials and everything was done in a clandestine manner.
"Only the license holder knows about the district official who has renewed his license. The license holder is very much aware of the fact that if he would inform anyone, he would have to visit the respective district headquarter to get his license renewed", sources said, adding that the arms license dealers have made such a strong nexus across all districts that no one muster courage to expose them.
Even many senior officials of administration were involved in the license scam, sources said, adding that though the license dealers have made fortunes by the trade of arms license, now they have been running their business by merely renewal process.
"The CBI has started enquiry of the matter, but without having any authentic record of the license holders as well as authentic record of their renewals, how will the illegal fake license holders be found? It is a million dollar question", an official said, adding that many government officials were involved in the entire scandal and it would be difficult to nab the real culprits.
The official further said that the state government must issue directions to either stop renewal of the licenses or to maintain digital record of all the licenses renewed, so that the licenses would be renewed from the districts to have a check on the illegal trade.
Pertinently, according to Rajasthan Anti Terrorism Squad, 1,32,321 of the 1,43,013 licences issued from various districts of Jammu such as Doda, Ramban and Udhampur, were issued to non-state residents. A total of 4,29, 301 licenses have been issued so far across the state out of which only 10 percent were issued to state residents.