'Prohibited bore guns given to 18 MPs booked for crimes'
Eighteen of the 82 parliamentarians given licences of prohibited bore guns between 2001-12 had criminal charges pending against them, a study has said, hinting at criminalisation of Indian politics.
The 18 MPs were facing cases like murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping at the time the weapons were sold to them.
"The study shows the extent to which our politics has become criminalised...we need to take immediate steps to root out criminals from politics," Anil Bairwal of NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch, which conducted the study, told IANS.
Among the MPs who faced criminal charges at the time of getting the licences were Atiq Ahmed of Uttar Pradesh with 44 criminal cases against him and Abu Asim Azmi of Maharashtra and Rakesh Sachan, also of Uttar Pradesh, with seven cases each.
Others in the list included Afzal Ansari and Brajesh Pathak, both of Uttar Pradesh, with four cases each.
According to Bairwal, 756 guns were sold to MPs and VIPs between 1987 amd 2012 with the special permission of the finance ministry.
"In some cases, special permission was given for out-of-turn allotment of prohibited bore guns to MPs and VIPs. Ordinary citizens were never eligible for purchasing such guns even if they had obtained a licence," said the study.
Bairwal asked why the MPs needed guns when several of them had police protection.
The study said these guns were seized by the customs department and then sold to MPs and VIPs on first come first served basis.
The data was obtained through right to information by activist Ambrish Pandey, who passed on the information to ADR for the study.