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The law's asleep in UP: 2,000 bullets missing, no one notices for four months

Rohit Ghosh | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 10:02 IST

The transaction

  • Jaikaran Singh, who runs a licensed arms shop in Kanpur, ordered 2,000 cartridges from Lucknow
  • The courier package he received from Lucknow had pebbles instead of bullets

The alarm

  • Jaikaran questioned the Lucknow shop, which claimed the bullets were packed under supervision
  • He wrote to the district magistrates of Kanpur and Lucknow, but no one reacted for four months
  • Finally, Kanpur ADM Avinash Singh discovered Jaikaran\'s letter and ordered an enquiry

More in the story

  • How this contradicts the UP police\'s claims of sprucing up security
  • What\'s scarier is that arms dealers have been known to have Maoist links

Jaikaran Singh, owner of the Balaji Gun House in Kanpur, placed an order for 2,000 cartridges with the Popular Gun House in Lucknow in August this year.

Nothing was unusual or illegal about the deal. Both are licensed arms dealers, and such dealings are common practice.

Popular Gun House dispatched the cartridges through a private courier company on 8 August. Singh received the parcel on 10 August, but when he opened it, he found pebbles instead of cartridges.

Official inaction

It's not as though Kanpur's Jaikaran didn't raise any alarm regarding the incident. He questioned the delivery man, who said he should talk to the company that had sent the parcel.

Jaikaran then checked with the owner of Popular Gun House, and was told that there was nothing wrong with the consignment. All the cartridges were said to have been packed in front of the executives of the courier company.

It was then that Jaikaran wrote letters to the offices of the district magistrates of Lucknow and Kanpur. But the officials who received the letters did not take any action.

The whole incident would've probably got swept under the carpet had it not been for the Additional District Magistrate of Kanpur, Avinash Singh, who suddenly came across Jaikaran's letter.

Realising the gravity of the incident, the ADM immediately ordered an inquiry. "As many as 2,000 cartridges have gone missing and the matter is serious. That doesn't necessarily mean that the cartridges have been diverted to, say, terrorists or Maoists," said Avinash.

He said the investigators will check if the arms dealer in Lucknow had actually packed the cartridges, and if this was verified by the officials of the courier company. "If Popular Gun House had packed the cartridges and the receiver in Kanpur finds pebbles, then something must have gone wrong in transit," said the official.

Administrative officials think that Jaikaran is also at fault. "No doubt he informed administrative officials. But he should have followed the matter if no action was being initiated," said Avinash, adding, "And of course, we will also find out why the officials who received his letter did not take any immediate action into the matter."

Police claims laid bare

The Uttar Pradesh police have severely been jolted for several reasons.

For one, the incident took place in August, and for four months, they didn't know about the missing cartridges. And this is a department that had claimed to spruce up security arrangements following the terror attacks in Paris.

In addition, arms dealers in Lucknow and Kanpur have been under the scanner in the past for supplying weapons and ammunition to Maoists and dacoits.

Inspector general of police, Kanpur, Ashutosh Pandey said: "The matter is grave. So many cartridges falling into wrong hands can create a big law-and-order problem. The fault is not only of the arms dealers, but also of administrative officials. The arms dealers should have informed senior officials. The lower rung administrative officials who received the complaint should also have informed the senior officials.

"The matter will be thoroughly investigated by the police department. All the 2,000 cartridges have to be accounted for. Not even a single cartridge can go missing."

In the last decade, the transactions of several arms dealers in Lucknow and Kanpur have been thoroughly probed by the police. The licences of arms dealers having alleged links to Maoists in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were cancelled.

Ironically, a few years ago, the UP police had busted a racket involving its own armory department personnel, who were directly supplying cartridges to Maoists.

First published: 23 November 2015, 5:23 IST