Punjab Police busts fake arms licence racket; 8 arrested

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Chandigarh, Jul 10 (PTI) The Punjab Police has unearthed a fake arms licence racket with the arrest of eight people, including two gang members involved in preparing such licences, officials said on Wednesday.

The racket was running from Tarn Taran 'Sewa Kendra' at the behest of district manager identified as Suraj Bhandari, who was charging Rs 1.5 lakh per client, they said.

Bhandari is on the run, Director General of Police Gaurav Yadav said.

The arrested accused included six fake arms licence holders.

"The arrested gang members include a Tarn Taran Sewa Kendra employee identified as Harpal Singh and photocopy shop owner Baljit Singh, who admitted to be the brains behind tampering requisite identity proofs including Aadhaar cards and arms licence proforma to facilitate preparation of the fake arms licence," Yadav said in a statement.

Police teams have also recovered a laptop containing details of the various edited documents and online open source softwares used for tampering documents, he added.

The racket was uncovered following the arrest of Bablu alias Ballu of Anngarh on April 9 in an attempt to murder case, who during interrogation confessed to owning a fake licensed weapon, along with co-accused Kanwardeep Singh.

The DGP said following the revelations of accused Ballu, police started investigations and discovered that weapon licence was verified from the Deputy Commissioner Office, Tarn Taran but was not reflected in the official record.

It was also revealed that criminals with adverse record, originally residents of Amritsar, were utilising facilities at Tarn Taran to make fake licences on the basis of forged Aadhaar cards, he added.

DGP Yadav, while not ruling out the connivance of the gun houses, said police teams are probing the role of earmarked gun houses, with knowledge of licence being fake, selling arms without doing online verification.

Commissioner of Police, Amritsar, Ranjit Singh Dhillon said that an FIR was registered on June 11 in connection with the case. On June 12, five fake arms licensees were arrested, he said.

They were identified as Abhay of Sultanwind fraudulently shown as resident of Jandiala road in Tarn Taran, Manpreet of Amritsar shown as resident of Tarn Taran, Kanwardeep of Amritsar shown as resident of Railway Road, Tarn Taran and Rohit of Amritsar shown as resident of village Kang in Tarn Taran, Dhillon said.

One more fake arms licence holder, identified as Harinder of Sadar, Tarn Taran, was nabbed on July 2, he said.

He said that police teams have also recovered six fake arms licences and tampered Aadhaar cards, and seven weapons”, including four .32 bore pistols, two .32 bore revolvers and one double barrel rifle, from their possession.

Dhillon said that kingpin Suraj Bhandari was charging Rs 1.5 Lakh per client to prepare the arms licence, of which Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 commission was given to accused photocopy shop owner Baljit, while Sewa Kendra employee Harpal was getting Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000.

"They used to append QR Codes, holograms, stamps and digital signatures," he said, adding that police teams are on a manhunt to nab Bhandari. PTI SUN KVK KVK KVK