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Kashmir DSP may be stripped of gallantry award (2nd Ld)

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Srinagar, Jan 13 (IANS) The nexus between a decorated Jammu and Kashmir Police officer and the terrorists is likely to ruffle many a feather as the past of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Devinder Singh is going to haunt the intelligence agencies for long.

Following his arrest on Saturday, the Jammu and Ksahmir Police has apprised the Ministry of Home Affairs about the arrest, and the Home Secretary has been briefed on the Kulgam encounter.

Singh, who had joined the counter-insurgency Special Operations Group (SoG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police as a sub-inspector and he rose quickly to the rank of a DSP in addition to earning the prestigious police medal for gallantry ostensibly for his anti-militancy duties, will now be interrogated by Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing and Military Intelligence teams.

There are chances that Singh will be stripped off of his Presidents Gallantry Medal award, sources said, adding that the process was under consideration.

Singh’s name first appeared in the grey zone after Parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru levelled serious allegation against him during his defence in the trial court. But back then both the state police and the intelligence agencies had dismissed those allegations as a figment of a terrorist’s mind.

Guru had alleged in his defence that Singh tortured him and threatened to kill his family unless he carried out his directions.

Guru alleged in a written affidavit and through statements carried in the local media that Singh had forced him to carry the Parliament attack terrorists to Delhi, hire a flat there and also buy a second hand white ambassador car for the use of the terrorists.

It was this white ambassador car that the terrorists used during the Parliament attack in 2001.

After his disgraceful arrest on Saturday, while he was carrying a dreaded terrorist Naveed Baba of Kashmir’s Shopian district to Jammu in his private car, Singh has told interrogators that he had harboured the terrorist in his Srinagar residence before the travel.

Naveed Baba was wanted by the police for the murder of 11 civilians, who included non local labourers, truck drivers and fruit merchants, after the abrogation of Article 370.

Police told IANS that Devinder Singh had been harbouring terrorists in his home in Jammu and also in his ancestral home in Tral town of Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

The operation is being seen as a huge success for J&K Police, DGP Dilbagh Singh, IGP Vijay Kumar and DIG Atul Kumar Goel.

"For the heinous crime of carrying the terrorist to Jammu, he had taken Rs 12 lakh from the terrorist. He has been booked as a terrorist and he will be dealt as such," Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone told reporters on Sunday.

Davinder Singh was taking the two militants — Naveed Babu alias Babar Azam, a resident of Nazneenpora in South Kashmir’s Shopian district and his associate Asif Ahmad — to Chandigarh for providing them accommodation there for a couple of months.

Sources said that a civilian Irfan Ahmad Mir was driving the vehicle when they were caught by the police at Al-Stop on National Highway in Kulgam district yesterday.

"Mir has travelled to Pakistan five times on passport and police is now investigating whether Singh and Mir were helping the two militants in ex-filtration or planning an attack somewhere in mainland," sources said.

They said that besides recovery of one AK-47 rifle, two pistols and two grenades from Singh’s residence, lakhs of rupees were also recovered.

They said that militants had struck a deal of Rs 12 lakh with Singh for transportation, providing them accommodation and other related issues.

Sources further said that Singh was providing hideout to militants in Jammu during winters for last several years for which he was getting handsome amount of money.

They said that police was tracking DSP Davinder Singh when he reached Shopian few days back to pick up Naveed and Asif. "The trio including Mir stayed at Singh’s house in Srinagar for the night and police had laid nakas at Airport and NH-44," sources said.

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.

For how long has Devinder Singh been hunting with the hound and running with the deer? This is going to be the most embarrassing question for his seniors in the Jammu and Kashmir Police.