Fate of several complaints relating to illegal arms licenses hanging in balance

No action on communiqués sent to different authorities

*ACB says no such case challaned in court

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 23: Shocking it may sound but it is a fact that fate of several complaints relating to illegal issuance of arms licenses has been hanging in balance despite lapse of several years. This is mainly because of non-serious approach of the authorities, who were supposed to act on the communiqués referred to them by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (formerly Vigilance Organization).
This has come to the fore from the reply furnished by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in response to an application submitted under Right to Information Act, 2005, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
The applicant Advocate Muzzaffar Ali Shah had sought to know the exact number of complaints received by Anti-Corruption Bureau against KAS/IAS or other officers regarding the illegal issuance of arms licenses since January 1, 2005 till date.
He had also sought information vis-a-vis number of preliminary enquiries/verifications initiated into all such complaints and the cases which have been challaned with regard to illegal issuance of arms licenses.
In the reply, which, however, is silent on several important aspects relating to issuance of illegal arms licenses, the CPIO of Anti-Corruption Bureau vide communication dated February 13, 2020 has revealed that a complaint against Kuldeep Khajuria, the then District Development Commissioner (DDC) Poonch, was received in the year 2011 mentioning that he had issued more than 4000 gun licenses to the personnel of Army units who neither served in district Poonch nor in any other part of J&K.
It was also mentioned in the complaint that he had ignored the civilians who had applied for issuance of gun licenses after completion of all the formalities.
The then AIG Personnel of State Vigilance Organization had referred the complaint vide Communication No. SVCO-Home-G-2/11-6566 dated April 21, 2011 to the then Divisional Commissioner Jammu for appropriate action against the officer. However, no action was taken and the officer attained superannuation without facing any enquiry or action.
Similarly, a complaint was received against the then District Magistrate Udhampur in the month of August 2012. However, instead of looking into it the Vigilance Organization preferred to forward the complaint to the District Magistrate, which otherwise was highly unjustified as same officer was asked to submit factual report against whom there was a formal complaint.
The then District Magistrate Udhampur termed the allegations as baseless and conveyed this to the Vigilance Organization with the mention that he has also shared the information with the then Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department. “The same is pending as the action taken by the Home Department is still awaited into the matter”, read the RTI reply furnished by the CPIO of Anti-Corruption Bureau (formerly Vigilance Organization).
Likewise, a complaint was received by the Vigilance Organization in the year 2015 against the then Deputy Commissioner Ramban alleging therein that large number of gun licenses were fraudulently issued in respect of Army personnel by charging hefty amounts.
“In this racket, high profile officers were involved and online system for issuance of gun licenses was in offing but the same was not started due to the reasons that illegality would be detected”, the complainant had conveyed to the Vigilance Organization.
Accordingly an open verification No.UD-31/2017 was initiated. “This complaint has been referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation vide letter No.ACB-Veri-UD-31/17-8404-05 dated July 16, 2019 for further course of action”, the CPIO said.
However, it has not been mentioned as to why the verification remained incomplete for two years although there was sufficient material to conclude the same. Due to this, the fate of this complaint is also hanging in balance.
Similarly, two FIR Nos.11/18 registered at VOJ Jammu and 18/18 registered at VOK regarding illegal issuance of arms licenses have been referred to the CBI.
“No case has been challaned in the court”, read the reply of the CPIO to the RTI applicant seeking information about cases pertaining to illegal issuance of arms licenses having been challaned.
The RTI applicant has claimed that there are numerous other complaints the reference of which has not been made by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in the reply furnished as per the provisions of the RTI Act and whose fate is still hanging in balance.