He had not only taken money for transporting and sheltering Naveed but had been regularly receiving money from the militant for extending assistance throughout the year, sources said.
“When he was caught, he was transporting Naveed to Jammu, where he (Naveed) was to stay for the winter. After that, they (Naveed and arrested accomplice Asif) were supposed to leave for Pakistan. We are probing the route they were to take to reach Pakistan. Davinder was negotiating between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 30 lakh for the job — he had not been paid the full amount,” a security establishment officer told The Indian Express.
The suspended Deputy SP, a source said, had similarly transported Naveed to Jammu last year and provided him shelter during the winter. “He was in touch with Naveed for years and was on his payroll. He has been regularly receiving money from Hizb-ul-Mujahideen,” an officer said.
Singh was arrested on January 11 in Kulgam while ferrying Naveed, Asif and lawyer Irfan Mir to Jammu in his car. A team led by DIG Atul Goel flagged the car (Hyundai i10) based on intelligence inputs. Sources said agencies learnt about Naveed’s movement through Irfan’s phone, which had been put on surveillance. “Conversations revealed Naveed’s plan to leave for Jammu in an i10 car on January 11. Davinder was a chance arrest, albeit not shocking,” the officer said.
According to a source, Singh is not cooperating with NIA in his interrogation. “He is refusing to even recognise numbers stored in his phone. He says he was posted at (Srinagar) airport and would save numbers of anyone who met him. He is also maintaining his innocence. Technical investigation will throw more leads on his contacts and finances,” the officer said.
A resident of Tral, in south Kashmir’s Shopian, a militancy hotbed, Singh joined J&K Police as sub-inspector in 1990. A brave and wily policeman, Singh’s colleagues said he soon joined the Special Operations Group, which was at the time the crack anti-militancy unit.
He was involved in multiple operations of trapping and killing militants, or forcing their arrest or surrender. “He was very well-connected in Shopian. Tral has a sizable population of Sikhs and he had a good network among them, apart from other locals. He could not only generate information but also lure militants and execute operations,” a J&K Police officer said.
Not surprisingly, Singh got out-of-turn promotion, and even a gallantry medal from the state in 2018 for a 2017 operation in Pulwama.
However, another officer said, Singh’s ways were not always clean.
A former top cop of J&K said: “I did think he was useful initially, but soon realised that he was probably playing a double game and could rather damage the police force. By then, he had attained such notoriety that I used his name to get work done by my SPs. If ever I found an SP not delivering the goods despite repeated reminders, I would threaten posting Davinder under him. The work would get done within a fortnight.”
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