Had taken terrorists to Jammu last year; no gallantry medal awarded
STATE TIMES NEWS Srinagar: Searches continued for a fourth day on Tuesday at the residence of J&K police officer Devinder Singh who was arrested for ferrying two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, officials said. They said the searches were conducted at Singh’s Indira Nagar residence and an under-construction house of the officer in the same locality. “Some documents have been seized during the searches,” an official said, but refused to divulge details. The officials said Singh was living in the house of a relative where he had allegedly kept the two terrorists overnight before he was nabbed by police in Kulgam district on Saturday. The police officer is being questioned by sleuths of various security and intelligence agencies. Interrogators said Devinder Singh had ferried Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Naveed Baba to Jammu last year also and facilitated his return to Shopian after “rest and recuperation”. “Meri mati maari gayi thi (I must have lost my mind to do what I did),” an interrogator quoted Singh as saying after the DSP failed to impress them with his theory of catching a big terrorist. Singh was arrested last Saturday along with Naveed Baba alias Babar Azam, a resident of Nazneenpora in South Kashmir’s Shopian district, and his associate Asif Ahmad. He is believed to have taken Rs 12 lakh for smuggling the two to Chandigarh for providing them accommodation for a couple of months, officials said. The officials, who have been spending considerable time questioning Singh, said there have been many inconsistencies in his statements and everything was being crosschecked and corroborated with the confessions of captured terrorists who have been kept in different rooms at an interrogation centre in South Kashmir. During questioning it emerged that Singh had taken them to Jammu in 2019 also, the officials said. In a tone laced with sarcasm, they said the DSP was taking the terrorist for “rest and recuperation”.
Naveed told the interrogators that they used to stay in the hilly regions to avoid the J&K police and left the areas to escape harsh winters, they said.
Going into the service history of Singh, majority of retired and serving officials of the JKP spoken to referred to a proverb — coming events cast their shadows long before — to say that if action had been taken against the officer during his probation period, such things would not have happened.
Recruited in 1990 as a sub-inspector, Singh along with another probationary officer were subject of an internal enquiry where some narcotics had been seized from a truck. However, the contraband was sold by Singh and another sub-inspector, the officials recalled.
There was a move to dismiss them from the service which was stalled by an Inspector General rank officer purely on humanitarian ground and the duo was shifted to the Special Operations Group, a team of policemen engaged in counter- terrorism offensive.
However, he could not last there for long and was shifted this time to the police lines only to be rehabilitated in 1997 again in the SOG.
During this period, he was posted in Budgam and is alleged to have indulged in extortion for which he was sent back to the police lines.
His proper rehabilitation began in 2015 by the then Director General of Police K Rajendra, who posted him in district headquarters of Shopian and Pulwama, the officials said.
However, after some alleged wrongdoing during his stint in Pulwama, the then Director General of Police S P Vaid transferred him in August 2018 to the sensitive Anti-Hijacking Unit in Srinagar, though the move was opposed by some other officers.
An advocate, Irfan Ahmad Mir, was driving the vehicle when they were caught by the police on National Highway in Kulgam district.
The advocate, who has also been arrested, had travelled to Pakistan five times on an Indian passport.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Police has said reports claiming that suspended officer Davinder Singh was awarded a gallantry medal by the Union Home Ministry are not true.
The recipient of the medal was another officer with the same name, it said.
Some media reports have claimed that Singh was awarded the police medal for meritorious services on Independence Day last year.
“It is to clarify that Dysp Davinder Singh is not awarded any Gallantry or Meritorious Medal by MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) as has been reported by some media outlets/persons. Only gallantry medal awarded to him during his service is by the erstwhile J&K State on Independence Day 2018,” the Jammu and Kashmir Police said in a tweet.
According to police, searches were carried out at Singh’s residence here, right next to the Army’s XV corps headquarters at Badami Bagh cantonment, where he had sheltered Naveed, Altaf and a new joinee in the banned terror outfit.
Two pistols, an AK rifle and a large quantity of ammunition were seized from his residence, they said.
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