Free Press Journal

Bhopal: Army base workshop’s store in-charge arrested


Bhopal: Alarm bells were sounded in India’s defense and national security establishment as ongoing investigations into a recently busted alleged inter-state gunrunning racket that dealt in re-assembled AK-47 rifles led MP and Bihar police to the arrest of a civilian officer Suresh Thakur (store in-charge) posted at 506 Army Base Workshop(ABW) in Jabalpur on Wednesday.

Earlier, one Imran who was arrested with three AK-47 rifles by Bihar police, led to the arrest of a retired naib armorer Purshottam Lal from Rewa by MP antiterrorist squad (ATS) and Jabalpur police led.

Lal’s arrest eventually took them to Thakur. “It cannot be ruled out that terror operatives and naxal extremists have got these supplies,” confided informed sources.“Each assembled rifle was sold to Imran at the rate of Rs 500,000.Out of this sum, rupees Rs 400,000 was kept by Purshottam, while Rs 100,000 was Thakur’s share,” IG (Intelligence) of MP Police Makrand Deouskar told Free Press on Wednesday.

“Both the accused are being questioned by MP ATS and Jabalpur Police for extracting more details about the racket,” added Deouskar. Jabalpur district police superintendent Amit Singh said, “Involvement of more ABW personnel cannot be ruled out at this moment.”

Retired armourer of Indian Army Purshottam Lal sourced condemned/discarded AK-47 rifles and their parts, which were later re-assembled by Purshottam into functional assault rifles. These newly functional assault rifles were re-assembled and were physically carried by Purshottam in train to Bihar, where his contact Imran Alam, a notorious gunrunner forwarded the consignment to his other contacts for final supply to shady and criminal elements in the eastern state.

Sources on the anonymity informed that Purshottam and Suresh Thakur have been running the racket since 2012. Purshottam retired from his job in 2008. In this period around 70-100 condemned and discarded AK-47 rifles sent by defence forces, central paramilitary forces and various state police’s special forces for smelting at ABW could have been rendered out of the base workshop by Thakur to Purshottam along with various spares parts for being re-assembled into functional AK-47 rifles. Both Thakur and Purshottam came in contact with each other while sourcing liquor from CSD canteen around a decade back. Thakur used to bring the condemned AK-47 rifles from ABW in his personal car. Central intelligence agencies officials have arrived in Jabalpur to dig deeper into the entire racket.