The CBI raided 22 locations in Jammu and Kashmir this morning, including the residence of Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, a senior J&K IAS official, which was linked to the illegal sale of weapons permits. Mr. Choudhury is currently the Secretary (Tribal Affairs) and Executive Director of the J&K Youth League. He previously served as deputy commissioner for the Kathua, Reasi, and Rajouri, and Udhampur districts, during which time he allegedly issued thousands of permits to individuals in other states and UT under a pseudonym.
The CBI is investigating at least eight former deputy commissioners.
Since 2012, J&K has illegally issued more than 200,000 gun licenses. This is considered the largest licensed racket in India.
Last year, CBI arrested two officials, including IAS officer Rajiv Ranjan. Mr. Ranjan and Mr. Itrat Hussain Rafiqui allegedly illegally issued several of those permits while serving as Deputy Commissioner of the Kupwala District.
In February of last year, the agency arrested an individual who had “carried out various financial transactions with other accomplices, including public officials.”
CBI had previously stated that it had uncovered a “deep-seated conspiracy” in this matter.
The scam was first discovered by the Rajasthan counterterrorism team in 2017 when they arrested Ranjan’s brother and other intermediaries working for arms dealers.
However, the J&K government at that time protected the accused under the pretext of a careful investigation.