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Govt relieves Baseer as Advisor to face prosecution in fake gun license racket

Serving, Retd IAS, JKAS officers too involved in scam
Portfolios to be distributed among 2 Advisors till replacement

Neeraj Rohmetra

JAMMU, Oct 5: The Government today relieved Baseer Ahmad Khan from the post of Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha amidst reports that his name figured in the fake gun license racket and the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) wanted to prosecute him in the case along with three IAS officers and other serving and retired officials.
Khan was inducted as Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu in March 2020.
“Pursuant to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India communication, Baseer Ahmad Khan has been relieved from the post of Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect,” an order issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) this evening said.
Sources said Baseer Ahmad Khan, a retired IAS officer of 2000 batch, who had his last posting as the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and had served as Deputy Commissioner of some districts during his career, was among the IAS and JKAS officers involved in issuance of fake gun licenses during his tenure as the District Magistrate.
“Name of Baseer Khan figured during ongoing investigations in the case by the CBI but the investigating agency was unable to question him and raid his premises in view of senior post of the Advisor held by him,” sources said, adding the Union Ministry of Home Affairs was concerned about slow pace of investigations in the gun license racket in which a serving IAS officer was arrested earlier while houses and offices of two others were raided recently along with JKAS and retired officials, gun dealers and other persons.
The CBI top brass is understood to have briefed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about the name of Baseer Khan figuring in the gun license racket. In view of this, sources said, the MHA relieved Khan from the post of Advisor to let the CBI do its job independently.
The Lieutenant Governor has now been left with two Advisors including Farooq Khan, a former BJP leader and retired IPS officer and Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar, also a former IPS officer who had retired as Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). While Farooq Khan hails from Jammu, Bhatnagar is from outside the UT. Baseer Khan was the only Advisor from Kashmir division.
Baseer Khan was holding the portfolios of Power Development, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction, Culture, Tourism, Floriculture, Planning Development and Monitoring and Industries & Commerce.
The Lieutenant Governor is likely to distribute portfolios held by Baseer Khan among Farooq Khan and Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar till new Advisor is appointed.
Baseer Khan had his last posting as the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and was due to retire on June 30, 2019. However, his services were extended by one year and he continued as the Divisional Commissioner till Match 2020 when he was appointed as the Advisor to then Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu.
Khan was the Divisional Commissioner in August 2019 when the Central Government had abrogated special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the erstwhile State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
The CBI had in July 21 this year conducted searches at 40 locations in Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi in connection with fake gun license racket.
The CBI had in December 2019 also carried out searches at over a dozen locations in Srinagar, Jammu, Gurugram and Noida on the premises of the then District Collectors and Magistrates of Kupwara, Baramulla, Udhampur, Kishtwar, Shopian, Rajouri, Doda, Pulwama, and several other places.
The searches were carried out in connection with a probe into two cases pertaining to alleged issuance of around two lakh arms licenses from different districts of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir by their Collectors and Magistrates. It is alleged that arms licenses were issued in lieu of illegal gratification.
“During investigation and scrutiny of documents, the role of certain gun dealers was found who in connivance with the public servants i.e. the then DM and ADM of concerned district had allegedly issued such illegal arms licenses to the ineligible persons. It was also alleged that the persons who got these licenses were not residents of the places from where the said arms licenses were issued,” the CBI had said in a statement.
It is alleged in the FIR that then public servants in cahoots with other accused issued arms licenses to non-residents of J&K in violation of rules and received illegal gratification.
The CBI had stated that more than 2.78 lakh arms licenses were issued to the non-entitled persons during 2012-16.
The CBI had collected documents pertaining to the issuance of said arms licenses allegedly spread over 20 districts of J-K.
The Rajasthan ATS had unearthed the scandal in 2017 and had arrested over 50 people for their alleged involvement in the illegal issuance of arms licenses. According to the ATS, over 3,000 permits were granted allegedly in the name of Army personnel.
Based on ATS findings, then Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra had handed over the matter to the CBI.

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