J&K DSP Davinder Singh, Caught With Hizbul Militants, Gets Bail in Absence of Chargesheet

Singh had been arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell in a terror case. The NIA says it is investigating him on a different matter and will soon file its chargesheet and that he will remain in custody till then.

New Delhi: Suspended Jammu and Kashmir deputy superintendent of police Davinder Singh, arrested while accompanying two Hizbul Mujahideen militants in a vehicle bound for Delhi in January, was granted bail by a Delhi court on Friday in another terror-related case.

Singh and another accused in the case Irfan Shafi Mir were granted relief by the court in a case filed by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police. The court noted that the probe agency had failed to file a chargesheet within 90 days from his arrest, as prescribed under law, their lawyer M.S. Khan said.

The particular case in which Singh has been granted bail is reportedly a Delhi Police terror case unrelated to the ferrying of the militants, which is being handled by the NIA, and for which Singh remains in custody. The NIA also tweeted this clarification through its official account:

The bail was granted on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of like amount.

The application filed by Singh’s counsel stated that Singh and Mir were arrested on March 14 and 19 respectively for this particular case and are no longer required by the police for the purpose of investigation.

“The accused are wrongly and falsely implicated in the case. There is no material/ evidence to show the existence of any conspiracy to commit any act with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India and there is also no material to substantiate that the accused had the intention or conspired to carry out terror strike,” the application said.

The Special Cell had brought him to Delhi from Hira Nagar Jail in Jammu and Kashmir.

PTI has reported that he used to chat with other co-accused and militants of Hizbul Mujahideen through various internet platforms and that the case related to the “planning and execution of terror attacks in Delhi and other parts of the country”.

Earlier, the police had told the court that Sayed Naveed Mushtaq, the commander of Shopian district of Hizbul Mujahiddeen, and others were planning to execute terror attacks in Delhi and other parts of the country as well as carry out targeted killings of protected persons.

Delhi Police has filed an FIR under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Singh was taken into custody under the same FIR.

The FIR also mentioned the mafia’s D Company and Chhota Shakeel. According to the FIR, Delhi Police’s Special Cell had received an input that the D Company, run by fugitive Indian underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, is funding pro-Khalistan terrorist organisations in Punjab.

The Delhi Police’s sluggishness in filing a chargesheet against a suspended officer who reportedly has deep terror links stands in sharp contrast to its recent eagerness in slapping multiple charges upon peaceful protesters of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

January arrest

DSP Singh’s arrest in January had made waves, chiefly because, as The Wire had reported, he had been named by Afzal Guru as a key go-between in the 2001 terrorist attack on the parliament. While Guru was hanged in 2013 for his role, Singh’s alleged involvement in the parliament case was never investigated by authorities.

In his analysis of Singh’s unique role in the J&K power structure in the aftermath of his arrest, Siddharth Varadarajan had noted Afzal’s clear naming of the police officer:

In an undated letter to one of his lawyers written while he was in Tihar Jail, Afzal spoke about how  Davinder Singh and another officer, DSP Vinay Gupta had tortured him at the STF camp in Hamhumma near Srinagar. This is what Afzal wrote:

“D.S. told me that I had to do a small job for him that has to took one man to Delhi as I was well aware about Delhi and has to manage a rented house for him. Since I was not knowing the man but I suspected that this man is not Kashmiri as he did not speak in Kashmiri but I was helpless to do what Davinder told me. I took him to Delhi. One day he told me that he want to purchase a car. Thus I went with him to Karol Bagh. He purchased the car. Then in Delhi he used to meet different persons and both of us he, Mohammad, and me used to get the different phone calls from Davinder Singh.”

The ‘Mohammad’ whom Afzal said Davinder had asked him to take to Delhi ended up being one of the five terrorists who shot their way into the parliament precincts on December 13, 2001, killing nine people before being gunned down.

Controversial handover to NIA

On January 11, Singh was caught travelling with two militants – Naveed Mushtaq ‘Babu’ and Altaf of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen – on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, en route Delhi. The police recovered AK-47s and other arms from the car they were in. A third person, labelled an ‘overground worker’ of the Mujahideen was also present.

The BBC Hindi had reported then that at the time of his arrest Singh had purportedly told the Deputy Inspector General of Police not to “spoil the game.”

Addressing a press conference afterwards, inspector general of police for J&K Vijay Kumar was quoted by PTI as having said that although Singh “has worked on several anti-militancy operations but the circumstances under which he was arrested yesterday [January 11] when he was driving the car with militants towards Jammu is a heinous crime. That is why he is being treated at par with the militants.”

Yet within 24 hours, the Union home ministry, wrote Swati Chaturvedi, appeared to have told the J&K police to hand over the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In his piece for this website, N.C. Asthana had noted how the system had rewarded Davinder Singh’s several excesses instead of looking deeper into them.

“Davinder had come close to trouble several times. In 2001, he was transferred out of Budgam after massive public protests against custodial deaths. In 2015, he and another DSP of the Special Operations Group (SOG) were named in an FIR for allegedly extorting money from common people and implicating them in false cases. However, no material damage was done,” Asthana wrote.

Singh had been awarded the Police Medal for Meritorious Service last year.

Note: This article has been updated with details of the terror case in which Davinder Singh has been given bail.