Kochi: Exposing the failure of security forces, an intelligence report claimed that about 1,000 semi-automatic pistols had been smuggled into Kerala by an inter-state gun racket four months ago.
Based on a tip-off from the Maharashtra police, the state police, with the assistance of the military intelligence wing, had conducted intense searches for the consignment, but the weapons have never been recovered.
It is suspected that the sophisticated guns might have ended up in the hands of organizations indulging in anti-national activities and criminal gangs.
The police have obtained crucial evidence regarding two members of the gang headed by Deepak Kumar Saha, the alleged kingpin of the racket, who had stayed for two weeks in a lodge at Broadway in Kochi.
They have been identified as M. Munwar and Muhammed Shahid, who were caught by the Delhi police with illegal firearms last July. They landed in Kochi in the guise of agents of a toy manufacturing unit in North India.
The weapons smuggled into Kerala were reportedly manufactured in illegal units at Sandwa in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier, security forces had seized a huge cache of arms comprising blank guns (replicas that make the sound of gunfire but do not fire bullets) manufactured by a Turkish company.
The arm-manufactures in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are said to be experts in converting the blank guns, normally used for military and police training drills and film production, into live firing weapon.
During a recent raid, the Maharashtra police had seized a huge collection of blank guns imported from Germany and the USA.
Deepak Kumar had close connections with illegal firearm manufacturers based in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar, the police said.
Two held with weapons
Meanwhile, the Delhi police on Monday arrested two people and recovered 17 automatic pistols from them. They were identified as Kailash, 35, a firearm dealer based in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhav Raval, 25, a native of Dhar, Madhya Pradesh.