The CBI on Tuesday searched the Srinagar residence of Baseer Ahmad Khan, the former advisor to J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, in connection with the fake gun licences racket.
The agency also searched 40 locations (belonging to 25 people, including government servants and private individuals) across Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh.
Mr Khan earlier served as the District Magistrate of several J&K districts, during which time he allegedly issued thousands of fake gun licences. He was relieved of his position last week after the agency informed the Union Home Ministry that he is an accused in this case.
A former IAS officer, Mr Khan has also been charge-sheeted in the Gulmarg land scam case. However, despite facing serious charges he was allowed to continue as an advisor to the Lieutenant Governor.
In July the CBI (Central Burau of Investigation) said several district magistrates in Jammu and Kashmir, acting in collusion with arms dealers, had issued illegal gun licences going back as far as 2012.
Over 2.78 lakh illegal licences had been issued in what is seen as India’s biggest arms licence scam.
The agency had then also searched the homes of two other senior government officials, including Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, who is presently Secretary of Tribal Affairs.
Mr Choudhary was earlier the District Magistrate of six J&K districts. He later tweeted to emphasise that no incriminating material had been but admitted there were irregularities in some cases.
The arms licence racket was first unearthed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Rajasthan Police in 2017 after they found criminals with licensed weapons issued by J&K government officials.
The ATS also found over 3,000 licences in the name of Army personnel based on fake documents.
The CBI has claimed a “deep-rooted conspiracy” in this matter.
While the former Peoples’ Democratic Party-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir has been accused of trying to shield the accused – under the garb of a vigilance probe – after the imposition of Governor’s Rule in 2018, then Governor NN Vohra handed over the case to CBI.
In March last year, the CBI arrested IAS officers Kumar Rajiv Ranjan and Itrat Rafiqui who had issued thousands of licences during their tenure as the District Magistrates of Kupwara.
A month prior to that the agency arrested a private individual who was “involved in various financial transactions with other co-accused, including public servants”