A 10-year-long racket of supplying guns to Maoists from one of the oldest ordnance factories in the country was busted in West Bengal today, the police said.
Six people, including two guards and two officers of Rifle Factory Ishapore, 50 kilometres from Kolkata, have been arrested for allegedly smuggling out guns to Maoists in India and Nepal and to criminal gangs in Bihar and even terror groups in a racket going on since 2008, the police said.
The factory makes INSAS assault rifles for security forces, as well as other sophisticated self-loading rifles.
The police said they have recovered some guns from the accused, who are suspected of having links with Maoists in Nepal. Those who ran the racket also allegedly gave guns to gangs in Bihar and terror groups.
Finished weapons at the factory which were rejected for final use due to defects were smuggled out after repairing them, the police said. To avoid detection, the weapons were dismantled before they were taken out from the factory, the police said.
Some 16 INSAS assault rifles and right self-leading rifles (SLRs) were given to Maoists in earlier consignments, the police said.
The INSAS is a sophisticated assault rifle that the security forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east states also use.
On its website, the state-owned gun factory says its origin goes back to 1787 when a marble plaque on the main gate of the factory was installed for setting up a gunpowder unit.