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Rifle club under fire over fake certificates

State association sniffs scam linked to arms licences, complains to deputy commissioner; probe on

Ranchi: Jharkhand State Rifle Association is moving towards derecognising Ranchi Rifle Club for allegedly issuing fake arms training certificates to applicants of gun licenses when it is only authorised to certify users of air pistols in the absence of a firing range.

Association secretary general Uttam Chand, who said they had alerted Ranchi deputy commissioner on April 24, explained that only Jamshedpur Rifle Club and Dhanbad Rifle Club in Jharkhand were authorised to issue certificates for the purpose of a gun licence.

He said they alerted the Ranchi administration for reasons of security as fake licences to untrained users posed a serious danger to society and if allowed to continue, such dubious methods could become an easy way for criminals to get licensed arms.

The association, Chand added, had served a notice to Ranchi Rifle Club on April 27, giving it a fortnight to furnish documentary evidence of a firing range, arms licence and names of persons to whom it had issued training certificates.

But, Ranchi Rifle Club, which is yet to reply to the notice, denied the accusations.

"All the allegations are baseless. We never issue certificates by taking money or without training. For training, we hire certified mentors," said its secretary Sachin Kumar Singh.

Chand explained the rules. He said that anyone seeking a gun license is required to complete a three-month training stint at a rifle club with a firing range and licensed weapons. After completion of training, the club is supposed to issue a certificate which needs to be submitted along with the application for the gun licence.

"The state association authorises clubs to issue specific certificates. Ranchi rifle club hasn't been authorised by us to issue certificates for gun training. The club can only issue air pistol training certificates since it doesn't have a firing range or licensed weapons," Chand said.

The matter of fake training certificates being issued by Ranchi Rifle Club surfaced mid-April when a few people from Gumla, Lohardaga and Ranchi complained to the association.

"Again, during a recent week-long advance training course at Hotwar stadium that concluded on May 11, several persons approached us for certificates in lieu of money. These people seemed to suggest that the practice was on at Ranchi Rifle Club," said Chand.

Ranchi deputy commissioner Rai Mahimapat Ray said he had ordered an inquiry into the affairs of the rifle club. "Yes, the state rifle association members met me recently with the complaint. A probe is on for further action," he said.

Chand was firm about taking action against the club. "Soon, we will de-affiliate it," he said.

"As per norms, we have served a notice to the club asking it to explain its position along with relevant details. But we know it doesn't have a firing range because had that been the case, we would have authorised it to issue arms certificates long back," he added.

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