The CBI raided 40 locations across Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi this morning, including the residence of senior J&K IAS officer Shahid Iqbal Choudhary in Srinagar, in connection with the illegal sale of gun licenses.
In J&K the raids took place in Srinagar, Udhampur, Rajouri, Anantnag and Baramulla.
Mr Choudhury is currently Secretary (Tribal Affairs) and CEO Mission Youth, J&K. He previously served as the Deputy Commissioner of Kathua, Reasi, Rajouriand Udhampur districts, during which time he allegedly issued thousands of licenses – under fake names – to people in other states and UTs.
At least eight former Deputy Commissioners are being investigated by the central agency.
Since 2012 over two lakh gun licenses have been issued illegally from J&K. It is believed to be India’s biggest gun license racket.
Last year two officials, including IAS officer Rajiv Ranjan, were arrested by the CBI. Mr Ranjan and Itrat Hussain Rafiqui, during their tenures as Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara district, allegedly illegally issued several such licences.
In February last year the agency arrested a private individual who was “involved in various financial transactions with other co-accused, including public servants”.
The CBI has previously said it has unearthed a “deep-rooted conspiracy” in this matter.
The scam was first discovered by Rajasthan’s Anti-Terror Squad in 2017, when they arrested Mr Ranjan’s brother and others working as middlemen for gun dealers.
The then J&K government, however, protected the accused under the guise of a vigilance probe.
The case was handed over to CBI by former Governor NN Vohra, after he found the scam was being run J&K government officers.