Gang of seven running fake arms licence racket in Hyderabad busted by police

The gang used bogus seals of officials and forged signatures to prepare the arms licenses and procured real weapons.

ByPTI

Published Nov 17, 2022 | 7:21 PM Updated Nov 17, 2022 | 7:21 PM

Racket arrested for running illegal arms licence racket. Representative Image. (Creative Commons)

A seven-member gang, allegedly running a fake arms licence racket in Hyderabad, has been busted. The seven included a mastermind belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, a police official said on Thursday, 17 November.

The gang used bogus seals of licence-issuing officials and forged signatures to prepare the arms licences and procured real weapons, said Hyderabad city commissioner of police CV 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 stamps, six rubber stamps and one unsigned NOC.

According to the police, the mastermind of the racket, identified as Altaf Hussain, came to Hyderabad in 2013 for a livelihood and joined a private security firm.

Later, he was deployed as a gunman for a firm handling cash.

Main accused obtained arms licence by bribing local magistrate

Prior to that, he bought a double-bore gun using a fake licence in the Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir which he had obtained by bribing the local magistrate’s 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 ₹40,000 to ₹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 ₹20,000 from each unemployed youngster and later deploy them in private security agencies.

Security firms employ people with illicit weapons

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 the police. This (issuing fake arms licences) is illegal and a serious threat to public safety. Private security firms must adhere to the 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 were also contemplating issuing retainer licences to private security firms, he added.

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