Press Trust of India

Fake arms licence racket run by JK man busted: Police

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Hyderabad: A seven-member gang, allegedly running a fake arms licence racket here, has been busted and the seven included a mastermind belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, a police official said on Thursday.

The gang used bogus seals of licence-issuing officials and forged signatures to prepare the arm licences and procured real weapons, said Hyderabad city commissioner of police C V Anand in a release.

Acting on a tip-off, the west zone task force caught the gang and booked it for allegedly cheating, forgery, making counterfeit seals, criminal conspiracy and illegal possession of arms, the police said.

The police seized 30 single-bore weapons, three double-bore weapons, one revolver, 140 rounds of ammunition, 34 fake weapon licence documents, 29 unused weapons licence books, nine licences which were affixed with fake stamp, six rubber stamps and one unsigned NOC.

According to the police, the mastermind of the racket who, they identified as Altaf Hussain, came to Hyderabad in 2013 for a livelihood and joined a private security firm. Later, he was deployed as gunman for a firm handling cash. Prior to that, he bought a double- bore gun using a fake licence in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir which he had obtained by bribing the local magistrate office, the police said.

As Altaf was familiar with the process and licence details, he teamed up with a stamp vendor in Secunderabad, and started issuing fake licences, the police said adding the fake were used to get arms.

He trapped unemployed youth residing in different States, who tried to make a living as security guards in private security firms. He procured weapons from other States through the youth for Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000, the police said.

This infringement has taken place with the connivance of a regional manager of a security services firm and a shop owner here, they said.

The accused used to collect Rs 20,000 from each unemployed youngster and later deploy them in private security agencies. Three such firms engaged security guards, who were in possession of illicit weapons, and deployed them to their clientele that included VVIPs, jewellery showrooms, agencies engaged for carrying ATM cash and as personal guards, the police said.

“The power of issuing arms licences and renewals is vested with police. This (issuing fake arms licences) is illegal and a serious threat to public safety. The private security firms must adhere to Private Security Agency Regulation Act (PSARA) under which the operation of private security agencies is governed.

“A private security agency cannot hire a guard with a firearms licence and they should also submit an undertaking to this effect. If banks, ATMs, and business establishments want armed guards, they can apply for arms licence and then hire the guards as retainers from the security services,” the police said.

The Hyderabad police chief further said a meeting with all private security agencies would be held to urge them to voluntarily disclose the weapons in their possession.

The city police was also contemplating on issuing retainer licences to private security firms, he added.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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