Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arms racketeers tap Kerala market

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 31 May 2009 10:47:00 PM ISTLast Updated : 31 May 2009 09:29:28 AM IST

KOCHI: In a clear indication that Kerala too is becoming a hotbed of illegal arms trade for radicals across the border, the Kochi police have unearthed a racket in sourcing of arms from Kerala to Orissa and other north- eastern states.

The racket was busted after the police caught three people who are natives of Orissa red-handed while trying to purchase arms from an armoury in the city after producing bogus arms licences.

Assistant Commissioner P M Varghese said they had caught Rabirajaz Farida, 22, Vipin Bihari Buhari, 33, and Niraijan Manu Buhari, 39, after the armoury owner grew suspicious and tipped off the police.

Police said that a preliminary investigation into the incident had revealed that during the period between June 8, 2008 and May 28, 2009, 21 persons from Orissa had purchased arms, mainly ‘12 bore double- barrel guns’ from the armoury.

They produced fake arms licences issued in their names by the Nagaland Government.

‘‘It is suspected that a racket from Orissa, which is having links in states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and north-eastern states, is behind the incident,’’ a senior police officer said and added that the racket was unearthed after the armoury owner grew suspicious over the authenticity of these licences and cross-checked it with the Nagaland Government.

‘‘Initial questioning has revealed that they have transported the guns to Chennai. A police team will leave for Chennai to ascertain more details about the racket,’’ the sources said.

The arrested had confessed to supplying the guns to security agencies in Chennai and other cities, they said.

‘‘The police will seek the custody of the arrested, who have been remanded in judicial custody. A thorough investigation will be initiated into the incident as it is suspected that the guns have been sourced for Naxals in Orissa and for Maoists in north-eastern borders,’’ the police sources added.

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