NIA to question DSP Singh for sheltering, transporting militants

It is learned that the Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the transfer of the case to the NIA | Representation Photo: PTI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the investigation into alleged militant links of Jammu and Kashmir Police’s now-disgraced Deputy Superintendent Davinder Singh, who was captured on January 11 on charges of ferrying and sheltering two top commanders of the banned militant outfit, Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).

It is learned that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved the transfer of the case to the NIA.

In another significant development, the J&K Police on Tuesday raided the residence of Davinder Singh for the fourth time since his formal arrest last Saturday. Sources said two hand grenades, two pistols and an assault rifle (AK-47) were recovered from there. They said DSP Singh himself had ferried militant Naveed Babu to Jammu last year.

Singh had also constructed a new house in Srinagar’s Indira Nagar area, near Indian Army’s sensitive GOC 15 Corps Badami Bagh Cantonment. Sources said another house that belongs to Singh’s brother-in-law in the same Indira Nagar locality was used to shelter HM commander Naveed Mushtaq alias Naveed Babu alias Babar Azam. Singh had allegedly kept Naveed Babu at his Srinagar home multiple times.

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DSP Singh is a 1990 batch police officer who was recruited in the department as a sub-inspector (SI). In 1994, Singh began working for counter-insurgency Special Operations Group (SOG), where he rose through the ranks and became the deputy superintendent of police. A resident of south Kashmir’s Tral district, the hometown of slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani, DSP Singh was awarded by the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir last year.

Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday said that DSP Singh was awarded gallantry medal by the state on Independence Day last year. They also clarified in a statement Singh was not awarded any gallantry or meritorious medal by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

“Only gallantry medal awarded to him during his service is by the erstwhile J&K State on Independence Day 2018 for his participation in countering a Fidayeen attack at District Police Lines, Pulwama on 25/26 Aug 2017, when he was posted there as DySP. Media persons are advised to avoid speculative stories not based on facts,” it said.

In a tweet, the police again said, “It is to clarify that Deputy SP Davinder Singh is not awarded any Gallantry or Meritorious Medal by MHA as has been reported by some media outlets/persons.”

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Meanwhile, Farooq Khan, advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Girish Murmu, lauded the role of the police department for showcasing “professionalism” while dealing with a sensitive case.

“It is not a small issue. It is an extraordinary issue. I appreciate the efforts of Jammu and Kashmir Police. They were suspicious about his (DSP Singh’s) activities and started following his car. Finally, they searched his vehicle and nailed him,” Khan, pioneer of J&K Police’s Special Operations’ Group (SOG) in Kashmir, told The Federal.

“Hats off to the J&K Police for doing a commendable job. Despite Davinder Singh being a decorated officer, police did not shy away from arresting him. That tells you how professional the police force is,” Khan added.

Earlier, J&K Police had said a special investigation team was handling the interrogation of the arrested accused officer. However, following the revelations made by DSP Singh during his interrogation by a join team of the NIA, the Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and Jammu and Kashmir Police’s CID, it is learnt that the case will be dealt with vigorously.

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DSP Singh was arrested on January 11 when he was travelling with two top Hizbul Mujahideen militants, Naveed Babu and Rafi Rather. A team of J&K Police had intercepted their car at Mir Bazar in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. Another person, lawyer Irfan Shafi Mir, who was travelling with them, was also arrested. Sources said the lawyer had recently travelled to Pakistan five times with an Indian passport.

Meanwhile, J&K Police formally suspended DSP Singh from his services and an enquiry is pending. According to Service Rules, it is a norm if any government servant remains arrested for more than 48 hours, he/she automatically gets suspended till an enquiry is conducted. DSP Singh has been booked under Unlawful Activities Act and Arms Act. A First Information Report (FIR) to this effect has already been lodged.

Earlier, IGP Vijay Kumar had said Singh was involved in “a heinous crime” and that “the arrested officer would be treated and investigated the way militants are treated.”