Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party leader Waheed Ur Rehman Para allegedly paid Rs 10 lakh to terror outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen to ensure its support ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is said to have found.
The Central agency arrested Para in November, just ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in J&K, in connection with its probe into suspended DySP Davinder Singh’s links with the Hizbul.
Para, who won the polls from his constituency in Pulwama, is currently in jail.
When contacted, Para’s lawyer T N Raina declined to comment on this specific NIA claim. But in his bail application filed before the NIA special court in Jammu earlier this month, Para denied all allegations of Hizbul links and suggested he was being framed “for settling political scores with a political party”.
Sources said the money was allegedly delivered to Hizbul operative Syed Mushtaq Naveed alias Naveed Babu through Davinder Singh.
The former J&K police officer had allegedly received the money at Srinagar airport — where he was posted then — and had carried the same hidden in a tiffin box.
Davinder Singh was arrested on January 11, 2020, travelling in his Hyundai i10 car with Naveed Babu, Hizbul district commander for Shopian and Ganderbal; and Hizbul operative Rafi Ahmed Dar.
LoC trader Tanveer Ahmed Wani; advocate Irfan Shafi Mir and Naveed’s brother Syed Irfan Ahmad were later arrested by NIA once the case was transferred to it.
In its chargesheet filed against the accused in July, NIA alleged that Singh had been providing shelter to Hizbul terrorists and was aiding and abetting their activities at the behest of Pakistan.
Sources said that in February 2019, when Naveed Babu and Mir were staying in a hideout allegedly provided by Davinder Singh in Jammu, Mir allegedly called Para over Signal for financial assistance to help Hizbul.
“Mir and Para have known each other for a long time. Mir told Para that Rs 10 lakh was required for purchase of five AK-47 rifles for Hizbul. Para agreed but put a condition that Hizbul would not create any trouble ahead of the polls and that the outfit would take care of his workers in Pulwama. He also sought Hizbul’s support for the polls,” an NIA officer said.
Following this, the job of coordinating the deal was given to Davinder Singh who called Para on his phone on February 18, 2019, NIA sources said. He also received calls from Para during this period.
In March that year, Para allegedly sent a man with Rs 10 lakh in an envelope to Srinagar airport where Singh was then posted.
“Singh received the money and asked one of his assistants to put the same in a tiffin box and keep it in his car. It was later delivered to Naveed Babu,” the officer said.
Investigators have cited confessional statements of Mir and Naveed Babu to support their case along with recorded statements of independent witnesses including those who allegedly saw the money being delivered to Davinder Singh.
In his bail application, Para said that NIA has nothing but confessional statements of accused – and these cannot be considered as evidence. The application has claimed that Para was called for questioning in June as well but was let off after NIA “felt satisfied” of his innocence.
“It is only the announcement of DDC elections, which PDP and in particular, applicant-accused, is contesting, that NIA is being used as a tool for wrecking political vengeance against PDP, that the applicant was suddenly arrested on concoction and allegations which the NIA knows, are false,” the application said.
NIA sources said Para was not arrested in June as the probe against him had not been completed.
The NIA chargesheet against Singh and others claimed that the former police officer was well-entrenched in the Hizbul network providing its operatives shelter and weapons which were “later used for terrorist activities.”