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Sea, air & postal routes — arrested Gurugram brothers ‘smuggled guns from Europe for over 10 yrs’

Younger brother Jagjit Singh & wife Jaswinder Kaur were intercepted with consignment of 45 guns at Delhi airport last month, while elder brother Manjit Singh was arrested a week later.

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New Delhi: Arrested in connection with the impoundment of 45 guns at Delhi airport last month, Gurugram-based brothers Manjit and Jagjit Singh had allegedly been smuggling guns into the country for over a decade through air, sea, and postal routes, ThePrint has learnt. 

According to sources in the Delhi Police, Manjit, 45, and Jagjit, 41, have been importing ‘impact guns’ — which fire blanks — for the past 10-15 years from European countries. 

Their business, however, took a hit during the Covid-induced lockdowns, a source said. “The exact number of consignments is still under investigation,” added the source. 

Before the haul seized at the airport, the accused had allegedly smuggled another consignment in December. “During investigation, it was found that they had brought in another consignment of handguns from Turkey on 25 December. However, it’s not known exactly whom they have sold the guns to,” the source said. 

On 18 July, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police had arrested Manjit from Dwarka and seized a blank pistol (which does not carry bullets but makes the sound of actual fire). This came days after Jagjit and his wife Jaswinder Kaur, 31, were arrested by the customs department at Indira Gandhi International Airport on 11 July after 45 handguns worth Rs 22.5 lakh were found in their two trolley bags. The couple, along with their infant daughter, had returned by flight from Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.  

Customs officials said the couple received the guns from Manjit — who had flown from Paris to Delhi — after which he slipped out of the airport. The officials claimed that the couple admitted to smuggling 25 assorted guns worth Rs 12.5 lakh from Turkey earlier. 

Delhi Police spokesperson and deputy commissioner of police Suman Nalwa said earlier that Manjit had also sent a consignment of the contraband pistols to India through the Foreign Post Office (FPO) at ITO in Delhi.

The source in the Delhi Police said that while the accused were supposed to receive 30 guns from the FPO, only 7 have been recovered so far. 

The source said the brothers told their interrogators that they didn’t know the whereabouts of their customers. “They told us that they contacted them through social media such as Instagram, Facebook etc. and have no actual details on them,” the source added.  

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‘Impact guns used for extortion’ 

The source said the demand for ‘impact guns’ has increased over the years, and that these are mostly used by criminals for terror and extortion purposes. 

“It’s unclear whom they sold the guns to; we suspect these were procured by extortion gangs. When fired, these guns make a loud noise and look identical to normal guns,” the source explained. Both brothers had no licence either to sell or import and export these guns. 

Manjit was previously arrested in 2014 after a large consignment of weapons was recovered from a vehicle in South West Delhi during security checks in the runup to Independence Day. 

Two gunrunners were arrested with the consignment, which included 146 pistols, 40 revolvers, one 12-bore gun and nine daggers. The Special Cell arrested Manjit after his name cropped up during its investigation. 

Manjit and Jagjit have been smuggling guns in the garb of a garment business, the source said. Their father had a real estate business, and the family has properties in Gurugram as well as Kalkaji in Delhi, the source said. 

“They have travelled across Europe. Sometime in the early 2000s, Manjit travelled to Hong Kong for the garment business and then moved to Austria. He got married and settled there for some time. Jagjit was also in Austria around that time. The brothers made connections with arms dealers. Soon, they started getting guns from France and Austria, among other countries,” the source said.

“We suspect that they have connections at the postal department and the airport, due to which they smuggled hundreds of guns over the past decade,” added the source.

The police suspect that these guns were primarily sold to criminal gangs in Delhi, Haryana, and the neighbouring belt. 

(Edited by Tony Rai)

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