New Delhi: A man and his woman associate have been arrested in the national capital for carrying 900 live cartridges, leading Delhi Police to bust an inter-state syndicate involved in barter trade of firearms and cartridges, officials said on Monday.
Mohammed Rabbani, 35, and Chunni Beghum, 30, were arrested on February 23 from east Delhi`s Anand Vihar inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) with two sophisticated pistols and 900 live cartridges.
"Both of them had concealed the cartridges (7.65 mm) in their clothing. They were arrested and a case under the Arms Act has been registered," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Sanjeev Yadav.
Their interrogation revealed a new modus operandi used by firearm peddlers, he said.
"Firearms manufactured in Bihar`s Munger city are traded in exchange of live cartridges sourced from certain districts of Madhya Pradesh. One syndicate carries firearms and the other live cartridges. Both the syndicates exchange their firearms and cartridges through barter trade," Yadav said.
"The outcome of this syndicated activity is that both the syndicates come in the position of supplying a complete package (a pistol along with cartridges) to sell it to the intending criminals for a high profit," he said.
Police said firearms peddlers have now engaged women operatives who accompany their male counterparts in travelling from Munger.
"The male-female combination is least likely to create an alert or suspicion about their motives. The female members also split the illicit cargo, and owing to their gender, they easily pass through any kind of cursory check," the official said.
Police said the syndicate functions strictly on a "need to know" basis.
"All instructions are given by the handlers only after a particular journey is successfully completed."
Rabbani, who belongs to an agrarian family, was introduced to the gun-running racket by local peddler Mohammed Tehsam.
Tehsam had carried Rabbani as a co-passenger while smuggling firearms into western Uttar Pradesh and Delhi for a commission.
Gradually, Rabbani came in contact with other peddlers from Munger who used to ferry firearms in Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh.
Chunni Beghum, a widow, sells vegetables for a living. To earn extra money, she got associated with Rabbani, who belongs to her native village.