Mumbai

Two held with cache of sophisticated weapons

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10 factory-made pistols, 40 rounds of ammunition seized

The Thane Police Crime Branch has seized a large cache of sophisticated weapons from two accused allegedly working for a major arms dealer in the State.

The main accused, for whom the trap was laid, is still absconding. Thane Crime Branch officers said its Unit I conducted the operation on the basis of a tip off, which was linked to a case registered by the Shil Diaghar police station earlier this year. Sophisticated factory-made pistols and ammunition had been seized from two accused in the case. During interrogation they said the arsenal was being delivered at the behest of a suspect identified only as Mukesh.

A Thane Crime Branch officer said, “Our information indicated that Mukesh was active in the State and willing to sell weapons and ammunition to interested parties. We instructed an informant to contact him posing as a customer. After several rounds of calls, Mukesh agreed to meet him in Amravati on December 29.”

The officer said the meeting was fixed for 5 p.m. at Sheetal Lodging and Pancham Restaurant, which is located between Amravati station and bus stop. Unit I officers in plainclothes laid a trap and detained two suspects who reached the hotel at the specified time and approached the decoy customer. A search of their handbag revealed 10 factory-made pistols of superior quality and 40 rounds of 7.65 mm ammunition.

Two held with cache of sophisticated weapons
 

“We suspect Mukesh himself was also in the vicinity but got wind of our trap and fled the scene. Efforts are on to trace and apprehend him,” a Unit I officer, who was part of the operation, said. The two suspects, identified as Shoaib Sheikh (21) and Rahim Sheikh (32), both residents of Amravati, were arrested and brought to Thane for nquiries. They were charged under the Arms Act and have been remanded in police custody till January 7, 2019.

The Unit I officer said, “Shoaib is unemployed, while Rahim is a carpenter. We suspect that Mukesh has an intra-State network and employs locals in need of a quick buck to make his deliveries. Inquiries indicate that the weapons have been sourced from an illegal arms factory on the Maharashtra–Madhya Pradesh border.”

 

The high quality of the weapons, nearly as good as legally manufactured firearms, have raised concerns in the police department. On Monday afternoon, a team from the Maharashta Anti Terrorism Squad reached the Unit I office in Thane to interrogate the accused about the source of the arsenal and the scope of their racket.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:38:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/two-held-with-cache-of-sophisticated-weapons/article25875775.ece

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