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Arms smuggling: Arrested linkman reveals some names

STF launches search; officials believe truck driver was to have taken consignment to Bihar.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The Special Task Force (STF) officers, who arrested a truck driver in connection with alleged smuggling of “scrapped components” from the Ishapore Rifle Factory on Friday night, are now on the lookout for some people whom he named during questioning.

The officers suspect that the truck driver, who used to drive several trucks including the one that would ferry the “scrapped components” of the Ishapore Rifle Factory for quite time now, may have sold the scrapped components to Maoist outfits active in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Sources close to the officers of the STF of Kolkata Police said that the scrapped weapons components that Kurmi alias Lattu, the truck driver, would ferry from the factory are the ones that have the huge potential to be recycled into full-fledged arms like SLR, INSAS rifles that the Maoists and various terror modules are adept in using, said an STF officer.

According to the sources, the arrested truck driver was to have handed over his consignments to a manufacturers of arms at Munger in Bihar in exchange for a huge amount of money.

The involvement of Maoist outfits as end users of the scapped components could not be ruled out though “all the possibility are being examined and the required surveillance is being maintained”.

The arrest of Kurmi is the latest to take place after six persons were arrested by the STF from Babughat some time back.

With Friday’s arrest, the number of persons held in the Ishapore Rifle Factory arms smuggling racket case stood at seven.

The alleged corruption and the thriving racket involving scrapped weapons components in the factory came to the fore after an officer of the central vigilance department blew the lid off on the happenings at the factory.

The STF had started an inquiry and the CBI too pitched in to launch an investigation in the case and arrested Sambhu Bhattacharya, an engineer of Central works Depot dealing with weapons following inconsistency in his statements in connection with alleged smuggling out parts of SLRs and INSAS last year.

In May this year, the Kolkata Police’s STF arrested six persons ~ Ajay Pandit alias Guddu, Jayshankar Pandey, Umesh Roy alias Bhola and Kartik Sahu ~ from Babughat. Of the six, two were officers of the Ishapore Rifle Factory, two were contractual workers and two dealt in arms.

On Friday, a team of STF officers arrested Kurmi alias Lattu, a truck driver on charges of alleged smuggling of arms components.