Jammu : A special court for CBI cases here on Monday sought appearance of 21 accused before it in a case related to issuance of alleged illegal arms licenses in Jammu and Kashmir between 2012 and 2016.
Special Judge anti-corruption (CBI cases) Bala Jyoti issued the order after hearing a complaint under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) filed by the Enforcement Directorate’s Jammu wing through special public prosecutor Ashwani Khajuria.
“Perused the contents of the complaint carefully and entire material on record which transpires that prima facie accused person appears to have committed offences (under PMLA) as such process be issued for securing their presence accordingly.
“The office is directed to issue notices to the accused for appearance and for filing their reply on the next date of hearing,” the judge said in a four-page order.
The order said the counsel, S K Bhat, moved an application to defer taking of cognizance in ED complaint dated 2020 till the status report of predicated offences from the CBI is obtained and till the final report under J&K CrPC is filed before the CBI court.
A copy of the same is furnished to the other side for detailed response, the court said. “Let this matter come up again on April 26 for appearance of all accused persons and for further proceedings,” it added.
The criminal case of money laundering stems from an August 2018 FIR of the CBI (special crime branch, Chandigarh) where it was alleged that bulk issuance of arms licenses had taken place in Jammu and Kashmir in 2012-2016.
According to the ED, about 2.78 lakh arms licenses were issued to various defence and paramilitary personnel by “flouting” the prescribed guidelines and due procedure in lieu of “illicit” monetary consideration which was paid to government officers/officials through arms dealers/brokers and proceeds of crime were generated.
In April 2022, the ED attached assets worth Rs 4.69 crore under the anti-money laundering law in the case after carrying out raids against an IAS officer, some Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) officers and government officials, and arms dealers a month earlier.
The agency had said it seized “incriminating” documents that allegedly indicate transactions between weapon dealers and bureaucrats in issuance of illegal arms licenses in Jammu and Kashmir between 2012 and 2016.
“Government functionaries of J&K in connivance with many arms dealers, brokers of J&K have brazenly flouted the norms, procedure and rules for issuing arms licenses in lieu of monetary considerations by abuse of their official position as public servants and generated huge proceeds of crime,” the ED had said.
The accused in the case include IAS officer Rajeev Ranjan (former DC, Kupwara) and KAS officer Itrat Hussain (former DC, Kupwara) who were arrested by the CBI in the case in 2020.