Patna: Police on Tuesday arrested one of the masterminds of a smuggling racket that supplied AK-47 assault rifles from the Jabalpur Ordnance Factory to Maoists in Jharkhand.
Manzar Alam is suspected to have supplied many lethal weapons to the Maoists, politicians and criminals in Bihar. The arrest comes even as the NIA begins its probe into the arms smuggling case.
A team led by Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj swooped on a residential apartment on Tuesday, where Manzar was hiding for the last one week. He was on the radar of Jharkhand police while cops of both states raided many places, including some in Hazaribagh from where Manzar alias Manji's brother in-law Monazir, was arrested last week.
Sources had told News18 that Manzar was involved in supplying AK-47 rifles to Naxals with which he earned a large sum of money that he invested in a coal business with the help of relatives.
Munger police had busted the arms smuggling racket after a surprise catch of three AK-47 rifles from the suitcase of one Mohammad Imran who was moving suspiciously outside the Jamalpur railway station on August 29.
Based on his statement, the district police seized three more rifles from Mohammad Shamsher. Soon it turned out to be a case of inter-state racket of arms smuggling and police got the lead that some of the weapons might have made their way to terrorist organisations as well.
Bardah village under Mufassil police station in Munger has emerged as the largest exchange centre of AK-47s.
Massive raids by police teams led by SP Babu Ram yielded AK-47s from the house, wells and even some hidden below agricultural lands. The police have seized 20 AK-47 rifles and hundreds of spare parts since August 29.
Simultaneous investigation by Jabalpur police revealed that a retired armourer Purushottam Razak, who was posted at Jabalpur Ordnance Depot, persuaded a serving civilian officer Suresh Thakur to siphon off assault rifles by marking them as damaged. Razak, with his wife Chadrawati, would travel to Jamalpur by train and deliver AK-47 rifles to Imran and Shamsher.
This modus operandi apparently continued unabated from 2012 till August 2018, during which more than 100 assault rifles where allegedly smuggled to Munger and sold to suspected terror outfits, Naxals and criminal-turned-politicians. Purushottam, his wife and Suresh Thakur were also arrested after the racket was busted.
Till now, 15 people, including eight from Bihar, three from Madhya Pradesh, one from West Bengal and three from Jharkhand have been nabbed in the case.
National security concerns and multi-state involvement forced the Bihar police headquarters to recommend NIA to probe the case. Their team can arrive anytime in Munger, sources said.