The Special Cell of Delhi Police has recovered a 'Munger-made' AK-47 rifle from a gang of alleged illegal arms suppliers along with 30 pistols and as many spare magazines in a seizure which could set alarm bells ringing in the security establishment.
What would add to the worries of the authorities is that a locally-made AK-47 has been recovered for the first time in the national capital and its quality is as good as that of the original.
The AK-47 and other weapons were made in Munger in Bihar and were being allegedly smuggled by three men -- identified as Shamim (46), Vijay Pal (32) and Taslim (36) -- all residents of Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar.
Following a tip-off, they were arrested on Sunday by Special Cell sleuths from Bhagat Singh Park in the Yamuna Vihar area here at about 5 P.M., police said.
After an in-house study into the growing use of sophisticated firearms over the last few years revealed that most illicit weapons were manufactured in Munger and being smuggled into Delhi, the Special Cell has been working to prevent this illegal trade.
It recovered 196 illegal weapons last year and 35 gunrunners were arrested while this year, 90 weapons have been seized and around 20 persons arrested in this connection.
"This is the first time since the Special Cell started work on 'Operation Munger' that an improvised AK-47 rifle has been recovered. The craftsmanship can be judged by the fact that the recovered weapon is exactly like an original AK-47 assault rifle," said Special Commissioner (Special Cell) SN Shrivastava.
Along with the AK-47 and its magazine, 30 semi-automatic pistols and an identical number of spare magazines have been recovered from the accused. Some of the seized pistols are engraved with a 'Made in Italy' mark while the rest bear 'Made in USA' marks.
One white-coloured Tata Indigo car, which was being used to move the weapons, has also been recovered.
Shrivastava said that a disturbing piece of information which emerged during the interrogation of the three accused is that the kingpins of the trade are working to set up a 'Mini Munger' in Delhi by bringing 'craftsmen' to the national capital and manufacturing weapons here given the 'hurdles' in smuggling the same from Munger to Delhi-NCR. He added that police are probing this angle as well.
The accused have said that an AK-47 is made only on demand and the one recovered from them was meant for a high-profile gangster of western UP.
"They had procured the AK-47 at around Rs 2.5 lakh and it was to be sold at Rs 2.8 to 3 lakh," said an official.
Police said they had been tracking Shamim for the past one year after the arrest of two persons -- Niranjan Mishra and Mohd Firoz Alam -- along with a huge haul of 99 illegal pistols on July 16 of last year.
Police had learnt that Shamim was to have received the illegal weapons and would then have further supplied the same to his contacts in Delhi, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
After inquiries that lasted almost a year, a tip-off was received on Sunday that Shamim and his associates would come to Yamuna Vihar in a white Tata Indigo to deliver a huge cache of Munger-made semi-automatic weapons to a contact.
Accordingly, a trap was laid and the trio was apprehended. The AK-47 and 20 pistols were recovered from a bag which was being carried by Shamim. Five pistols were recovered from Mohd Tasleem's bag while the remaining five firearms were recovered from the cavity inside the left rear door of the car upon the instance of driver Vijaypal.
A case under appropriate sections has been registered in the matter at the Special Cell Police Station. The revelations made by the accused during interrogation are being verified while efforts are also on to identify the intended recipients of the weapons.
"We are trying to ascertain their past links. To whom have they supplied weapons in the past. One Sadaullah of Munger has emerged as the main supplier of these weapons. Efforts are on to reach the source of these weapons," said Shrivastava.