New Delhi: What does BSP`s Mayawati,
Congress` Janardhan Dwivedi, BJP`s Shahnawaz Husain and jailed
Mohd Shahabuddin have in common?
They are among the 750 MPs who have bought confiscated
arms in the past 25 years, an RTI reply has revealed.
While the Arminious and Erma revolvers were a hit among
the VIPs during the early 1990s, Webly revolvers replaced them
in the late 1990s. However, the last decade saw .22 bore
revolvers and 7.65 mm Walther pistols being preferred.
In the reply given to an RTI filed by activist Gopal
Prasad, the Commissioner of Customs (Preventive) said 75 MPs,
including Dwivedi, Atiq Ahmed and Abu Azam Azmi, have bought
various firearms from the government.
According to a July 2002 circular by Finance Ministry,
confiscated weapons can be sold to sitting MPs on first come
fist serve basis after receiving their confirmation in writing
that they do not own or possess any weapon at present.
UP Chief Minister Mayawati bought an Arminious revolver
in February 1991 for Rs 4,900 while Dwivedi bought 0.32 bore
S&W revolver for Rs 1.45 lakh in the second half of last
Former MP Atiq Ahmed, now in prison and facing trial in
35 criminal cases including several cases of murder, has spent
the highest amount among the VIPs to buy a rifle `Rugger M-77
Mark-II 30.66 mm` at a cost of Rs 3.15 lakh. Azmi opted for a
PPK pistol for Rs three lakh.
Kalmadi, who is now in Tihar prison pending trial in CWG
scam, bought a Webly revolver in 1995 for Rs 9,150 while
another jailbird Shahabuddin procured a S&W revolver in 2001
for Rs 43,507.
Babubhai Katara, who was arrested for allegedly running a
human trafficking network, was also in the race for buying a
weapon and procured a Webley revolver in 2000 for Rs 59,215.
BJP MP Ashok Argal, whom Delhi Police wants to arrest in
the cash-for-vote scam, and his party colleague Faggan Singh
Kulaste, who is in prison in the same case, also bought a
Webley revolver for Rs 9,000 each. Interestingly, Kulaste
bought the weapon a day after Argal bought it on May 13, 1997.
Among the present Union Ministers, Jayanthi Natarajan,
Preneet Kaur and M Vincent Pala figure in the list.
Natarajan bought a RS revolver way back in 1991 for 4,900
while Kaur got a Magnum Rugar revolver nine years later at a
cost of Rs 34,065. Pala also bought a pistol.
While he was the Chief Election Commissioner, M S Gill
procured a S&W revolver in 1999 for Rs 24,750.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rehman Khan bought an
Arminious revolver in 1994 for Rs 9,000 while S S Alhuwalia,
Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha, owns a 30.06 rifle which
he bought in 1992 for Rs Rs 2,389.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Shivraj Singh Chouhan,
presently Chief Ministers, also bought fire arms in 1992 and
1993 while Hooda`s rival Ajay Chautala bought a Star pistol in
2000. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab,
bought Llama pistol in 1997 for Rs 7,000.
Delhi politicians Jagdish Tytler (.32 Browning pistor in
1989), V K Malhotra (.22 Benetla pistol in 1990), Madanlal
Khurana (Walther pistol in 1993), Sajjan Kumar (Webly revolver
in 1996) and Vijay Goel (S&W revolver in 1999) also find a
place in the list.
Another Delhi politician to buy a firearm is present
Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri got a 0.32 bore S&W revolver
for Rs 1.40 lakh in the second half of the last decade. Senior
CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali who bought an ERMA revolver in
1991 for Rs 5,075.
According to the Finance Ministry guidelines, confiscated
non-prohibited weapons could be given to departmental officers
on lease terms on a selective basis.
The circular also makes it clear that the weapons sold to
sitting MPs could not be sold for a period of ten years.
Though some names appeared more than once in the list
during a period between 1986 and 2000 given in the RTI reply,
the 2002 circular says that only one weapon will be allotted
to an MP from the confiscated stock.
No replacement will be permissible even in cases the
first weapon allotted has either been lost or stolen or become
defective or non-serviceable due to excessive use or
obsolescence, the circular said.