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 750 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 decade. 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. 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.