DSP Singh suspended, had sheltered ultras, taken Rs 12 lakh to ferry them

Sumit Sharma. Updated: 1/14/2020 2:32:22 PM Front Page

Srinagar residence raided again; NIA to take over probe

SRINAGAR: Senior police officer Davinder Singh was suspended on Monday even as it emerged that he had sheltered three terrorists, two of them arrested along with him, at his residence in Srinagar right next to the Army's XV corps headquarters at Badami Bagh cantonment.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Singh had taken Rs 12 lakh from the Pakistan-based terror group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists to carry them ‘safely’ to Chandigarh, he told his interrogators, even as police carried out a fresh search at his residence.
Singh, who was decorated with President Police Medal about four months ago, continued to be grilled by a team of police and intelligence investigators.
After his disgraceful arrest on Saturday, while he was carrying dreaded terrorist Naveed Baba and his associate along with an OGW to Jammu in his private car, Singh has made several revelations before the interrogators.
He confessed that he had taken Rs 12 lakh from the terrorists for transporting them to Chandigarh safely, official sources informed, adding that he had harboured the terrorists in his Srinagar residence before the travel.
“The militants had struck a deal of Rs 12 lakh with Singh for transportation, providing them accommodation and other related issues on their safe passage to Chandigarh,” they said quoting Singh.
Singh, who was posted with the anti-hijacking unit at Srinagar Airport, has been booked in FIR number 5/2020 under Sections 7/25 Indian Arms Act, 3/4 Explosive Substances Act and Sections 18, 19, 20, 29 and 38 of Unlawful Activities Act, and has been lodged at SOG camp for questioning.
“He confessed that he had managed air travel of several militants out of valley since his posting at Srinagar airport,” the officials said, adding, he had also passed on secret information to militant groups from time to time.
“Devinder Singh had been harbouring terrorists in his ancestral home in Tral town of Kashmir's Pulwama district. Singh was also providing hideout to militants in Jammu during winters for last several years for which he was getting handsome amount of money,” they said, adding Singh has accumulated huge wealth both movable and immovable far more than income.
Sources said that soon after his revelations, a police team conducted search at his under-construction residence in Sriangar and recovered some more arms and ammunition.
A senior police officer said the raid was carried out at Singh's Indira Nagar residence following some disclosures made by him during interrogation.
The officer refused to give details about any recoveries made from Singh's residence.
Singh’s office at Srinagar airport, where he was posted as deputy superintendent of police in the anti-hijacking squad, has also been sealed.
Piecing together the chain of events, the officials said the two terrorists -- self-styled district commander of banned Hizbul Mujahideen, Naveed Baba, and Altaf -- were taken to the officer's home on Friday by a lawyer Irfan, who the police said was an overground worker for terror groups.
Singh reported absent from duty on Saturday, the day he was apprehended by a team of policemen along with the other three at Mir Bazar on the national highway.
The DySP had applied for leave from Sunday till Thursday, they said.
Police had carried out searches at his residence here and seized two pistols and an AK rifle beside a large quantity of ammunition.
Singh, whose name had been cleared for promotion as superintendent of police, is also likely to lose the gallantry medal that was awarded to him last year, the officials said.
The DySP is deemed to have been suspended after having completed 48 hours in police custody, they said quoting service rules.
On Sunday evening, his office at the Srinagar airport, where he was posted as DySP in the anti-hijacking unit, was sealed so that no evidence could be tampered with, the officials said.
Singh was arrested at a checkpoint on a national highway by a team of policemen, who were following the case after intelligence inputs suggested that Naveed Baba was being moved out of the valley.
Caught on the wrong side of the law, all excuses by Singh failed to enthuse police officers who effected his arrest and carried out a search at his residence in Srinagar where he had kept Naveed and his associate Altaf, a recent joinee in the banned terror outfit, the officials said.
Initially, he repeatedly claimed that he was trying to win the confidence of the terrorists to catch a 'bigger fish' but could not substantiate the reasons for not following due protocol.
Singh's arrest may have affected the image of Jammu and Kashmir Police but former director general of police Kuldeep Khoda lauded the police force for not hesitating even once in arresting their senior officer.
"It is the JKP which has caught its own officer. They laid the trap as they do for other terrorists and managed to arrest the DySp. No one can cast any doubt on the police force which has been rendering service to the nation especially during the last 30 years of militancy in the valley," Khoda said.
Another former police chief A K Suri said though the incident is an unfortunate one, what is more important that the culprit has been arrested.
"This is not the only case. In the past also some policemen were under suspicion and were arrested," he said.
This is not the first time that Singh has been in the news for the wrong reasons.
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".
However, the angle was probed and could not be substantiated with any evidence, the officials said.
Sources said that role of the accused DySP in Parliament attack case is also being looked in, as there are some leads suggesting he had helped militants to reach Delhi at that time as well.
They said that the case will be handed over to the NIA after JKP’s probe.
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, they said.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar on Sunday said the police officer was involved in a "heinous crime" of ferrying militants and is being treated on par with the ultras.

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