This is the first major operation of the agency after the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir as an Union Territory. It has given the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the jurisdiction to operate there under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that governs it, they said.
The state of JK was bifurcated into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on August 5 by the government.
Residences of IAS officers Yasha Mudgil and Rajiv Ranjan, and former senior officers are being searched, the officials said.
The searches are being conducted at around 13 locations in Srinagar, Jammu, Gurgaon and Noida, they said. The premises of then deputy commissioners and district magistrates of Kupwara, Baramulla, Udhampur, Kishtwar, Shopian, Rajouri, Doda, Pulwama are being searched in connection with two CBI cases related to alleged irregularities in the issuance of around two lakh arms licences from different districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said.
The searches are being carried out by respective deputy commissioners (DC) and district magistrates (DM).
It was also alleged that the then public servants received illegal gratification in issuance of licences to non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir in violation of rules, they said.
The case was handed over to the CBI on the basis of a recommendation from Rajasthan Director General of Police OP Galhotra as the anti-terror squad (ATS) had busted a racket related to the matter.
The Rajasthan ATS had estimated that around 4.29 lakh arms licences were issued in the last decade from various districts of militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir.
The CBI is searching the premises of Mudgil, a 2007-batch IAS officer, the then DC Baramulla, Rajiv Ranjan, a 2010-batch IAS officer, then DC Kupwara, Itrat Hussain, the then DM Kupwara, Salim Mohammed, the then DM Kishtwar, Mohammed Junaid Khan, the then DM Kishtwar, FC Bhagat, the then DM Rajouri, Farooq Ahmed Khan, the then DM Doda and Jenhagir Ahmed Mir, the then DM Pulwama, the officials said.
The agency had registered two FIRs in this regard with the consent of the Jammu and Kashmir government with the then DC of Kupwara listed as an accused in one of them while unidentified officials of various districts have been mentioned in another, they said.
The CBI's Chandigarh unit has registered the FIRs for alleged criminal misconduct and criminal conspiracy under the Ranbir Penal Code and in violation of Section 3/25 of the Arms Act, besides provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The case was transferred to the CBI on a strong recommendation of DGP Galhotra who had written to the Jammu and Kashmir home department suggesting "transfer of the case" to the central agency without any further delay, they said.
He had said the case pertains to the issuance of arms licenses in "fraudulent manner by various authorities in Jammu and Kashmir".
According to the Rajasthan ATS, the probe involvement of some IAS officers of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre in issuance of arms licences on forged documents.