Deputy Superintendent of Jammu & Kashmir Police Davinder Singh who was arrested while taking two top Hizbul Mujahideen militants Naveed Babu and Asif Ahmad and a lawyer Rafi Ahmad to Jammu in a car in South Kashmir, was on the police's radar for several weeks. In a letter written in 2013, Afzal Guru, who was executed after being convicted for the Parliament attack, explained how "DSP Davinder Singh", the then deputy superintendent of police of Special Operations Group, had asked him to "take Mohammad", a co-accused in the Parliament attack case, "to Delhi, rent a flat for his stay and purchase a car for him".
According to details he had gone to Shopian to bring Naveed Babu to Srinagar some days before and was now helping Naveed and his accomplice to escape to Jammu.
“The real aim was to help Naveed and Asif move out of Kashmir and to go to Pakistan,” sources said, “Rafi had expertise in arranging and ferrying people to Pakistan.”
The police have recovered grenades and AK 47 rifles during a search at Singh’s residence in Srinagar.
“Money must have been the only motive for Singh to help the militants,” sources said.
The 57-year-old officer hails from Ovarigund Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. The family owns orchards in Tral and his parents live with his brother Naseeb Singh in Delhi.
“Singh had received many militant threats in the past which was the reason for him to move to a relatively safe location at Indira Nagar in Srinagar, sources said.
After completing his graduation from Amar Singh College in Srinagar, he joined the police as sub-inspector in 1990. His wife is a teacher and he has three children, two daughters, who are doing MBBS in Bangladesh, and a son who is in school.
During his 10-year stint in the Special Operations Group (SOG) in the nineties, Singh gained prominence for taking part in anti-militancy operations. For his role, he was given an out-of-turn promotion and made inspector in the late 90s. During an operation, he was injured in the leg in Budgam.
Afzal Guru, who was hanged in 2013 for his role in Parliament attack in one of his letters he wrote to his lawyer had alleged Singh had tortured him in custody and then tasked him to take a militant to Delhi and arrange for his accommodation there. The militant was one of those who were killed during the attack on Parliament. According to sources, Singh was never questioned after Afzal’s letter named him.
Sources say Singh’s record against militancy helped him to get away with all his ‘misdeeds’. “It must have been a regular affair for him to harbour militants,” sources said. “In the past, he was subject of many inquiries regarding extortion and corruption but was exonerated in all the cases.”
Singh is also said to have carjacked a truck carrying timber, owned by a relative of former Chief Minister Ghulam Mohideen Shah.
“He was never questioned, and the incentive for actively working against militancy could have played a part in exonerating him for all his crimes.”
A decorated officer, he was also part of a UN peacekeeping mission in 2003 for a year. He was awarded the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry last year. Sources said he has two properties in Srinagar and one in Jammu.
After serving in the Special Operations Group of J&K Police he was transferred to the traffic police.
Sources said after his arrest, he stands suspended. “He was one bad apple that has been shunted out from the force, he will be punished and dismissed from service,” sources said.
According to sources, Naveed who was arrested with Singh, was the most wanted Hizbul Mujahideen militant in Kashmir and was involved in the killing of non-local truckers and threatening fruit farmers after the abrogation of Article 370.
Sources said Naveed was also a 2012-batch police constable. He had been arrested once and released later. Naveed was transferred to Leh before he was moved to Budgam where was put on guard duty. In September 2017 he deserted the police and escaped with five AK 47 rifles while on duty.
The nexus between a decorated Jammu and Kashmir Police officer and the terrorists is likely to ruffle many a feather as Devinder Singh’s past is going to haunt the intelligence agencies for long.
Following his arrest, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has apprised the Ministry of Home Affairs about the arrest, and the Home Secretary has been briefed on the Kulgam encounter.
Singh will now be interrogated by Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing and Military Intelligence teams.
There are chances that Singh will be stripped off of his Presidents Gallantry Medal award, sources said, adding that the process was under consideration.
The operation is being seen as a huge success for J&K Police, DGP Dilbagh Singh, IGP Vijay Kumar and DIG Atul Kumar Goel.
“For the heinous crime of carrying the terrorist to Jammu, he had taken Rs 12 lakh from the terrorist. He has been booked as a terrorist and he will be dealt as such,” Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone told reporters on Sunday.
Davinder Singh was taking the two militants — Naveed Babu alias Babar Azam, a resident of Nazneenpora in South Kashmir’s Shopian district and his associate Asif Ahmad — to Chandigarh for providing them accommodation there for a couple of months.
Sources said that a civilian Irfan Ahmad Mir was driving the vehicle when they were caught by the police at Al-Stop on National Highway in Kulgam district yesterday.
“Mir has travelled to Pakistan five times on passport and police is now investigating whether Singh and Mir were helping the two militants in ex-filtration or planning an attack somewhere in the mainland,” sources said.
They said that police was tracking DSP Davinder Singh when he reached Shopian a few days back to pick up Naveed and Asif. “The trio including Mir stayed at Singh’s house in Srinagar for the night and police had laid nakas at Airport and NH-44,” sources said.
Given the high-security sensitive nature of Devinder Singh’s activities in mind, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) has decided that after being interrogated by the state police and the intelligence agencies, it will take custody of both Singh and Naveed to find out their links with the terror funding cases being investigated by it.
For how long has Devinder Singh been hunting with the hound and running with the hare? This is going to be the most embarrassing question for his seniors in the Jammu and Kashmir Police. (IANS)