The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a PIL filed in 2007 which alleged that a racket was being run by some army officers and bureaucrats by illegally procuring and selling Non-standard Pattern (NSP) weapons from Central Ordnance Depot, Jabalpur.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur concluded hearing arguments on the petition which has claimed that the scam had surfaced in 2007 when the authorities in Rajasthan’s Ganganagar district noticed that several licences were issued to dubious persons, including terrorists, smugglers and rowdy elements, by local authorities without verification.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that over the years orders have been passed and complied with and in some cases, criminal proceedings have been initiated while in others administrative actions have been taken.
The bench was told that a subsequent probe by the government had brought out a larger racket in which several army officers, including the ones in Major General rank, along with IAS and Rajasthan civil service officers were allegedly found involved in the sale of NSP arms to dubious elements.
For their personal use, army personnel are issued weapons, known as NSP weapons, from ordnance depots.
During the hearing, the apex court was earlier told that any serving or retired officer can purchase only one weapon but reports suggested that one officer appeared to have availed the facility in his name for 17 times.
The Centre had told the court that 73 army officials of various ranks have been punished with disciplinary action for illegal sale of weapons and issuance of licences to dubious persons and the punishment ranged from censure, demotions and withholding of increments.
During the earlier hearing on the PIL filed by advocate Arvind Kumar Sharma, the apex court had questioned the government as to why it was allowing some army officers to continue in service despite they being allegedly involved in illegal sale of weapons.
(Source : PTI)