Rot in shooting sports

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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by hvj1 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:55 am

First and foremost, my thanks to Tirpassion who directed me to this particular post.
As a former member of the shooting fraternity of Maharashtra I would like to put in my two pennys worth;

1. Firstly the very title 'Rot in Shooting Sport - License to kill', while it has evoked a huge response and succeeded in grabbing the eyeballs of the public and shooting fraternity (which is all very well for the author), is downright offensive and cheap to say the least.

2. Mr. Putani, you have, as I read here, put in a month of intensive research. Your article would have held more water, if you had done some more indepth study and interviewed a few more unbiased shooters. A case in point is the fact that Mr. Ashok Pandit has several assault weapons in his personal armoury, which you say, numbers 15 or so. The way you have portrayed him in your article, one wonders whether the lay public should reach for the telephone number of the nearest police chowky and report him as a prime candidate for going on a shooting spree in the middle of Chowpaty.

3. Mr. Ashok Pandit despite his faults, (we all have ours) has dedicated his entire life to the sport of shooting and has achieved excellence in his chosen sport which has brought laurels to India. As a shooter, I respect that and admire him for it and I would humbly point out to you, that you take a page from his book and apply it to your own profession.

4. I may also draw your attention to the second part of your article, which claims that the MRA is an illegal organisation. The MRA is a registered body with the Charity Commissioner of Maharashtra as the apex body for shooting sports in Maharashtra. Your issue of bogus clubs and similar such claims should be addressed to the Charity Commissioner, who will point it out to you, that the Charter of the Association lays down rules very clearly, that the Managing committee members are elected by District Associations and Shooting Clubs registed with the MRA. There is no specific rules, which says that these clubs and associations should have infrastructure in the form of ranges. A club maybe registered even on paper, so long as it fulfills the conditions laid down by the Managing Committee.

5. Finally, What is your problem, if the NRAI says it recognises MRA? Do you or any of the public see any parallel body in Maharashtra laying claims to the honour of being the apex body in the state?

6. Since the last twenty years or so, the illegal body that you claim the MRA is, has rendered yeoman services to the shooting fraternity in Maharashtra. The MRA is the first State Shooting Association in the country to start 'Safety Courses' for all aspiring shooters. To date, they have trained hundreds of aspiring shooters across the length and breadth of this state in firearm related safety.

7. Every year it organises shooting competitions and training courses for budding shooters, novices and seniors alike. Try and organise one such competition yourself and then you will realise the huge effort it takes.

8. Thousands of shooters get an opportunity to take up this sport due to the services provided by the MRA, without the LEGAL ammunition, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the likes of several international shooters to come up the ranks and represent the Country in the Olympics.

Finally I am not a a crony of Mr. Pandit nor a line toeing member of the MRA Managing Committee, but I'll be damned if I put up with the fiction that you have posted on your paper, casting a slur on Ashok Pandit or the shooting fraternity of Maharashtra and India and OUR MRA.


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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by winnie_the_pooh » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:15 pm


That is a nice looking 'Glock'. Would have been nice if all looked like that. Mr Putani seems to have disappeared. Perhaps he is 'researching' another article.

Like Mark Twain said "If you do not read a newspaper, you are uninformed;if you do read the newspaper,you are misinformed"
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.

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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by Resham Thakur » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:03 pm

SATYA MEV JAYATE ! [quote wrote:
"Putani2005"]DNA investigation: Licence to kill

Published: Sunday, Jul 22, 2012, 9:00 IST

By Gangadhar S Patil | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The 1991 shootout at Lokhandwala in which the police killed gangster Maya Dolas indicated that ammunition imported for the use of sports shooters had ended up with criminals.

A specific type of ammunition called wadcutter .32 was found at the encounter site. “Wadcutters are used only for sports events. Since I am also into shooting, I knew about it,” said a retired senior police officer. It goes without saying that arms and ammunition designed for shooting as a sport can also be used to kill.

DNA obtained information on the illegal sale of imported arms and ammunition by sports shooters via several Right to Information and other documents, and interviews with sports shooters, arms dealers and police sources.

The central government banned the import of arms and ammunition in 1986. Following this, there are only two ways individuals can import arms: a) NRIs who hold a gun licence in India and abroad are permitted to bring one firearm into the country on each visit; b) ‘Renowned’ sports shooters (who meet a minimum-qualification score) can import arms and ammunition through the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), the central body for the administration and promotion of the sport that comes under the Sports Ministry.

Foreign-made arms and ammunition are superior to Indian-made ones, says a former Mumbai-based shooter. The demand for them subsequently outstripped supply, leading to a dramatic spike in their prices. “This [money involved] is mainly the reason why some renowned shooters sell arms and ammunition they are permitted to import. Arms dealers, in turn, earn lakhs by selling these arms illegally,” says Alok Shetty (name changed), a Mumbai-based shooter-turned-arms dealer.

Rules permit ‘renowned’ shooters to import duty-free any pre-approved firearm and ammunition up to 15,000 cartridges per year. Several shooters often sell their surplus ammunition to individuals or dealers in the black market, said an arms dealer from North Karnataka, who was approached by this reporter posing as a potential buyer. “Often dealers, who buy this ammunition illegally, do not stock this in their commercial premises fearing police raids,” he said, adding that it is “common practice” for dealers to use “old invoices of ammunition imported legally to account for the illegal sale of ammunition bought from the sportsmen.”

“Since the sale is illegal, dealers do not mention them in their books. This means they have no record of the person who buys it from them too which is a problem when the arms and ammunition are misused for illegal activities,” said a senior police officer with the Maharashtra intelligence department.

In May 2009, after learning that sports shooters are misusing their import licenses, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, in a circular, asked every ‘renowned’ shooter to submit an annual ‘return’ detailing the weapons he owns or has sold to NRAI. This would be forwarded to the ministry. But, until April 2011, not a single annual return was filed/obtained, said the ministry in a reply to an RTI query.

Shetty explains the economics behind the racket. “One imported .32 wadcutter cartridge costs between Rs 20 and Rs 40. A sports shooter can get around Rs 80 per cartridge from arms dealers who resell each one to upcoming shooters or criminals for at least Rs 200,” he said. Similarly, a US-made Colt revolver that costs less than a lakh abroad can sell for Rs 3-5 lakh in the black market. The Colt is not a sports weapon, but as explained later, part of the scam involves a few sports shooters importing assault models while claiming to import sports models and selling them for a profit.

One reason for the proliferation in the illegal sale of imported ammunition is perhaps because sports arms licence holders are under no obligation to reveal how they utilised the ammunition they bought. In 2010, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued guidelines that recommended that state governments (arms and ammunition issues being a state subject) ask license holders to report their use of ammunition. But a close reading of the guidelines suggests that is not mandatory for states to follow them.

Arms deception
Besides the illegal sale of ammunition, sources say some sports shooters also import assault weapons in place of sports models by deceiving authorities. These weapons are then sold in the black market.

A former shooter and an NRAI official outline the procedure.
While applying for the import license, sports shooters often do not mention complete details of the weapon required like model name, number and brand. The application form contains only details of the calibre. This means shooters can import anything — sports or assault models — of that calibre. A Mumbai-based arms dealer, who claims to have executed many deals for shooters across the state of Maharashtra, confirms this.

“It is humanly impossible to cross check every imported weapon to see if it fulfills norms notified in 1985 giving specifics of sports models. The customs authorities find the norms too technical to interpret correctly,” says the NRAI official.

“The usual modus operandi opted by shooters is to declare that the firearm imported earlier is not performing to his satisfaction and hence he wants to sell it,” said a former international shooter, familiar with the business of selling imported weapons.

The NRAI refuted all charges saying that it has not received a single case in which it was established that ‘renowned’ shooters sold arms or ammunition in the black market.

“A shooters license allows sports shooters to import a meagre quantity of 15,000 rounds a year. They are required to deposit empties with us before importing the next lot. Hence, this allegation is baseless,” said an official statement from NRAI.

However, an NRAI official who requested anonymity told DNA that this is never followed in practice. “Shooters just declare that they have fired all the ammunition without giving us any further details,” he said.

No records
MHA guidelines allow sports shooters to possess up to 10 sports weapons depending on the number of events they participate in. But some prominent sports shooters flout this rule.

Arjuna awardee Ashok Pandit, 59, who won a gold medal in the free-pistol event in the 1990 Commonwealth Games, possesses 15 imported arms, some of which are assault weapons, revealed an RTI reply. The reply also reveals that Ashok Pandit sold some weapons of which there are neither details of the purchaser nor the source of the firearms. This point is referred to in a letter by Vasai MLA Vivek Pandit to Maharashtra sports and youth welfare minister Padmakar Valvi. The MLA has sought an investigation into the matter.

Ashok Pandit is the general secretary of the Maharashtra Rifle Association (MRA), an organisation illegally operating since 1981 as an apex body in the state for shooting sports (more on that in Part 2). MRA has the support of the NRAI. Ashok Pandit did not respond to queries mailed to him by DNA despite reminders.

In another instance, there is no record to show from where renowned shooter TS Dhillon, currently NRAI vice-president, bought a Hammerli pistol (made in Switzerland) in September 2009 on his arms licence no. 1999/July/Ludhiana. He subsequently sold it to a Mumbai based shooter. “Requisite document is not available on file/record,” said the district magistrate’s office, Ludhiana, in a reply to an RTI plea filed seeking details. The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and the Commissioner of Customs Department, New Delhi, had no information on the weapon either.

DGFT, Mumbai, refused to give information on the quantity of ammunition imported in the last three years but a Mumbai-based dealer said the figure is around 2-3 lakh cartridges annually.

As per existing guidelines/instructions, renowned shooters are allowed to sell their imported weapons after five years from the date of possession to promising or upcoming shooters only after the approval of a three-member committee.

Are state rifle associations only set up to facilitate illegal trade in arms and ammunition?
In February 2012, the government eased the import restriction on arms and ammunition slightly by allowing NRAI to freely import arms and ammunition for its own use or for the use of its affiliates. Previously, the NRAI had to go via the Sports Authority of India and the DGFT.

But as Delhi-based shooter Dr Rajpal Singh reveals, there are many fake rifle associations with bogus shooters that the NRAI allots arms and ammunition to every year. These are never used for sports purposes but are sold illegally.

Others, such as Yashwant Shinde, a shooter from Maharashtra, link MRA office bearers and NRAI to a bigger trade involving the illegal sale of imported arms and ammunition.

NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia denies all charges saying that imports are being done under the strict supervision of top NRAI officials.

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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by .338 lapua » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:31 pm

Resham Thakur,

Dear Sir/ma'am,

Kindly introduce yourself :?: ,Are you trying to say that we should have a debate on this Editorial with the popular show "SATYA MEV JAYATE",then that will be a very good idea. :D
In the meanwhile if you could introduce yourself so that we may understand what you are trying to say.
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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by BowMan » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:09 pm

Skyman wrote:Bowman, i have a better idea.Why don't we have eminent members write an article clearing the air, and get that published instead of any form of sorry which fixes nothing?

If such cases come to light than some action must be taken which goes beyond this forum.

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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by Skyman » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:17 pm

Hmm....IFG could be on tv!! Maybe the mods can rub shoulders with Amir Khan..?
I would rather hit my target gently than miss hard.

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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by goodboy_mentor » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:35 pm

What you are saying are the symptoms of a systemic problem created by monopoly of MRA, NRAI and unjustified ban on import of arms and ammunition. What prevents people to form alternative rifle associations to MRA and NRAI? Forming associations is fundamental right under Constitution, you can form as many associations you feel like. Are you able to see the root cause of the problem now?
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Re: Rot in shooting sports

Post by Skyman » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:03 pm

Thakur, the point of these posts are? Are you for,against,or are you just submitting info?
I would rather hit my target gently than miss hard.