Investigators questioning Jammu & Kashmir police officer Davinder Singh said on Monday that the officer, who was arrested for allegedly escorting terrorists, claimed he was working on a plan to eliminate top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo but could provide no proof to support his assertion.
Singh, who was suspended on Monday and his office sealed, is currently with the anti-hijacking wing of Srinagar airport and is not mandated to carry out undercover counterterror operations.
“There is nothing to support his claim, importantly none of the counterterror units operating in Jammu & Kashmir have backed his claim and neither was he in touch with them or tasked,” a senior official in the security establishment who didn’t want to be named said.
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The two terrorists were identified as Hizbul Mujahedeen member Naveed Babu and Altaf. Babu is accused of being involved in the killing of 11 non-local workers including truck drivers and labourers in south Kashmir last year. The police also arrested a lawyer from Shopian, identified as Irfan, who was travelling with them.
Preliminary investigations indicated the two alleged terrorists stayed at Singh’s house in Srinagar’s Indra Nagar for about two days.
On Saturday, when Singh’s vehicle was flagged down at a police check post on the highway leading to Jammu, Singh allegedly didn’t hide his identity but told policemen that he was travelling to Jammu with family members.
“Unfortunately for Singh, there was pin-pointed information with the J&K Police about terrorists travelling with Singh,” a second senior official in the security establishment, who did not want to be named, said.
An AK-47 rifle, two pistols, two grenades and lakhs of rupees were recovered from Singh’s residence, said a third official, adding that militants had struck a deal of Rs 12 lakh with Singh for transportation, providing them accommodation and other related issues.
“Singh was providing hideout to militants in Jammu during winters for several years for which he was getting handsome amount of money,” said the official. He added that Singh was taking the two militants to Chandigarh for providing them accommodation for a couple of months.
The J&K Police are now examining Singh’s finances and cases he was associated with the past, a senior Union home ministry official said, and called for a “360-degree investigation”. The National Investigation Agency could take over the case, the officer indicated.
In particular, police are examining Singh’s house, which adjoins the headquarters of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps.The other line of investigation is that Singh was escorting, on a regular basis, terrorists from north to south Kashmir, where the deployment is very thin.
Singh was under investigation earlier as well. He allegedly tried to extort money when he was posted in the critical Special Operations Group (SoG). Despite the inquires, there were no red flags against Singh, a fourth official in the security establishment admitted.