Seven men were arrested by Hyderabad Commissioner's West Zone task force team for procuring real weapons by preparing fake arms licenses.
These men used fake seals of license-issuing officials, and forged signatures to prepare fake arms licenses.
Hyderabad city police commissioner C V Anand stated that the mastermind of the racket was Altaf Hussain, a resident of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Altaf came to Hyderabad in 2013 looking for work and joined Grace Management Security Service. He was deployed as a gunman in SIS cash service in west Marredpally.
Before he came to the city, he had purchased a double-bore real gun, using a fake arms license in Rajouri by allegedly bribing the local magistrate office in J and K.
The police found that he was familiar with the process of procuring real guns and issuing fake licenses to the holders. Altaf teamed up with Hafeezuddin a stamp vendor in Secunderabad and started issuing fake gun licenses by indulging in forgery and affixing fake seals.
Anand says, "These fake documents were used to procure real arms. This is dangerous to the security of the city as illegal weapons are in circulation and can be used for various dubious purposes."
The police have a list of people who own arms in the city and they have to renew their licenses from time to time.
Trapped unemployed youth
Altaf found the Hyderabad market lucrative as he stepped up the illegal activity. The unemployed youth from J and K who were working in different security agencies were trapped by him and issued fake licenses. Using All India Licenses (Rajouri based), weapons were procured from other states by these gullible candidates for Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000/.
Once the procurement was done, these youth were paid Rs 20,000 and they were employed in security agencies in the city. The clientele these security guards served were owners of jewelry showrooms, ATM cash vending machines and security for VVIP.
Security agencies involved
The police found Grace Management Security Services, Asian Security Services and Nandamuri Security and Services procuring illegal weapons via these methods. Altaf connived with Venkata Konda Reddy, regional manager at GMSS and I Srinivas, Xerox shop owner in West Marredpally for issuing fake licenses.
A sizeable cache of arms seized
Police seized 30 Single Bore Weapons, 3 double-bore weapons, 1 revolver, 140 rounds, 34 fake weapon license books, 29 unused weapons license books, 9 weapon license books with fake stamps and 6 rubber stamps and one unsigned no-objection certificate. A tip-off to West Zone police led to investigations and the culprits were nabbed by the team led by DCP P Radha Kishan Rao, Md Khaleel Pasha, Inspector West Zone Task Force Team; sub-inspectors N Ranjith Kumar, P. Mallikarjun, Md. Mujaffar Ali, P. Chandramouli and other police constables.
Security agencies must voluntarily disclose procurement
With private security agencies possessing arms, it is important that they voluntarily disclose the weapons in their possession. Mr Anand says, "We are going to conduct a meeting with them as it is important to understand what arms they have. The power of issuing arms licenses and renewals is vested only with the police. The illegal possession of arms is a serious threat to public safety. Private security firms must adhere to Private Security Agency Regulation Act by which they are governed."
The police have made it clear that a private security agency cannot hire a guard with a firearms license and they should submit an undertaking to this effect. Anand says, "If banks , ATMs , business establishments and other organizations want armed guards, they can apply for an arms license and then hire the armed guards as retainers from the security services."
The police are contemplating issuing retainer licenses to private security firms that deploy guards to commercial establishments, ATM's and other firms.