The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a complaint before a special court in Jammu for confiscation of attached properties of 2010 batch IAS officer Rajiv Ranjan and other accused persons in a sensational arms license racket case, where indiscriminate number of licenses were issued in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Eight former deputy commissioners are being investigated in the case, while the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the high-profile case, had in 2020 arrested two officials in the alleged scam – IAS officer Rajiv Ranjan and Itrat Hussain Rafiqui, who is an officer of state administrative service.
Ranjan was then deputy commissioner in Kupwara district from where a large number of licenses were issued.
It is alleged that more than 2.78 lakh arms licences were issued to non-entitled persons in J&K between 2012 and 2016.
The case dates back to 2017 when a routine investigation by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Rajasthan Police found an alleged nexus between some criminals in Rajasthan and arms dealers in Rajasthan and J&K.
The case was handed over to the CBI by former J&K governor N N Vohra in 2018, after evidence pointed to the involvement of J&K government officers in the scam.
What is Operation Zubeida ?
Operation Zubeida was launched in 2017 after Rajasthan Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS ) got inputs about the network involved in forging documents to show non-J&K resident beneficiaries as residents of the J&K, besides army and defence personnel posted in the Valley, the racket also made J&K arms licenses.
The case was investigated by the Superintendent of Police Vikas Kumar, who is now serving as Inspector General of Police RAC in Rajasthan.
The racket was engaged in making arms licenses from Jammu and Kashmir with all India validity for customers spread across the country, particularly northern and central India.
The racket charged sums ranging up to Rs 3 lakh per licenses of All India validity for all kinds of firearms primarily purchased by beneficiaries from the licensed weapon shops.
The racket operated in two parts – first by getting arms license from Jammu and Kashmir by showing the beneficiary as army personnel and getting licenses made in backdate up to 2008 (as the provision of such arms licenses has been legal in J&K) by showing the beneficiary as resident of the terror hit state.
“Getting an arm license was easy for any army personnel in the terror stricken Jammu & Kashmir as it needed verification of commanding officer only which can be easily forged,” said an official who was in the investigating team.
Who is Rajiv Ranjan ?
Rajiv Ranjan is a 2010 batch IAS with very humble background. He did his BTech from BITS Pilani. Then he joined DRDO as a scientist and became a team leader of one of the most critical missile projects of the country.
In the line of duty, he met with an accident and went into a protracted coma and had a close shave with death. After recovery he appeared in the Indian Engineering Services exam and topped it.
But he left and later joined IAS. During IAS Professional Course, he received five gold medals.
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.