Il­le­gal arms trade con­tin­ues un­abated in Navi Mum­bai

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVIMUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NAVI MUM­BAI: The ar­rest of a youth with two coun­try- made pis­tols at Kalam­boli re­cently has once again proved that the rack­ets of il­le­gal arms trade are still ac­tive in the city.

Apart from send­ing peo­ple to sell such firearms to the lo­cals of Navi Mum­bai, the peo­ple from other cities also choose this city for strik­ing such deals, the police said.

Of­fi­cials from Navi Mum­bai crime branch said that around 60 such cases were reg­is­tered and over 70 il­le­gal firearms were seized from deal­ers be­tween 2014 and 2015.

The num­ber of cases goes up be­fore elec­tions and po­lit­i­cal events. Peo­ple di­rectly or in­di­rectly in­volved with pol­i­tics want to have such firearms as police con­fis­cate their li­censed firearms weeks be­fore the elec­tions.

In one such case, the police ar­rested a to­tal of six peo­ple, in­clud­ing a KDMC cor­po­ra­tor in July last year.

Shekhar Bagde, se­nior police in­spec­tor of NRI police sta­tion, who busted a big racket of the il­le­gal trade last year, said, “There is an im­por­tant rea­son why peo­ple from other places to choose Navi Mum­bai for such

deals. Ge­o­graph­i­cally, the city ap­pears to be the cen­tral point be­tween Mum­bai, Thane and the rest of Ma­ha­rash­tra. Weapons are first trans­ported to Thane from other states and are then brought here. The prospec­tive

buy­ers come from dif­fer­ent places and give cash for firearms. It is also easy to flee the city through Sion-Pan­vel high­way.”

Bagde ar­rested a to­tal of five peo­ple and seized six pis­tols, 13 mag­a­zines, 89 lives car­tridges and two lux­ury cars in June last year.

Suresh Men­gade, deputy com­mis­sioner of police ( spe­cial branch), said, “Al­most all the il­le­gal firearms seized in 2014 and 2015 were man­u­fac­tured in north In­dian states such as Ut­tar Pradesh and Bi­har. A ma­jor­ity of them were fac­tory-made pis­tols.”

How­ever, it is not easy to get the name of the man­u­fac­tur­ers, as the weapons have tags like ‘ made in US’, ‘ made in UK’ or ‘made in China’.

“The weapons look so­phis­ti­cated. Only af­ter closely ex­am­in­ing the weapons, we get to know that they are not im­ported but man­u­fac­tured in UP and Bi­har,” said an­other of­fi­cer.

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