Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Police have filed a case under the Arms Act against a close aide of fugitive Amritpal Singh for illegally procuring a gun license.
According to NDTV, Varinder Singh managed to acquire a gun license from Kishtwar district in 2013 and renewed it every year in four different districts across Jammu and Kashmir. Varinder Singh, also known as Fauji, was arrested by Punjab police a few days ago and booked under the National Security Act (NSA) before being sent to Dibrugarh jail in Assam.
The two supporters of Amritpal Singh, Varinder Singh and Talwinder Singh, have been discovered to have obtained gun licenses from Jammu and Kashmir. An FIR has been filed in Kishtwar and investigations are ongoing. Despite the fact that both licenses were cancelled after Punjab Police wrote to the district magistrates of Kishtwar and Ramban, the major gun license scam in Jammu and Kashmir has once again been brought to the forefront, NDTV reported.
As per NDTV’s report, between 2012 and 2018, district magistrates issued over 2.78 lakh illegal gun licenses, making it the biggest arms license scam in India. The case was transferred to the CBI by then Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra. The CBI discovered that illegal gun licenses had been issued by district magistrates in collusion with arms dealers.
Varinder Singh had acquired a gun license through forged documents when he and his army unit, the 19 Sikh Regiment, were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite being terminated from the army in 2015, his gun license was still being renewed in Jammu and Kashmir. The renewal of his gun license by district magistrates in Kathua, Reasi, Baramulla, Poonch, and Kishtwar highlights how easily they were issued and renewed in the state, NDTV reported.
The arms license racket was first uncovered by ATS Rajasthan in 2017 after they found criminals with licensed weapons issued by bureaucrats in Jammu and Kashmir. The ATS Rajasthan also discovered over 3,000 licenses issued in the name of army personnel based on fake documents.
Despite attempts by the PDP-BJP government in the state to shield the accused under the guise of a Vigilance probe, then Governor NN Vohra handed over the case to the CBI after the imposition of Governor’s rule in 2018. In March 2020, the CBI arrested an IAS officer who had issued thousands of licenses during his tenure as the district magistrate of Kupwara.