Srinagar: Life had come full circle for top counter-terrorism cop Davender Singh, who was arrested along with Hizbul commander Naveed Babu and Altaf when they were travelling in a car from Shopian district of South Kashmir.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DYSP) Davender Singh, who was posted in an anti-hijacking wing of J&K Police at Srinagar Airport, was arrested when he was trying to drive Hizbul commanders possibly out of the valley. Two AK-47 rifles were recovered in a subsequent raid at Singh’s house in Srinagar.

A highly decorated officer, Singh was appointed as sub-inspector in Jammu and Kashmir police in 1990. Later, he joined Special Operations Group, the counter-insurgency wing of Jammu and Kashmir police, to take on the militants. He has been one of the dreaded cops who have been accused of human rights abuses and extortion.

Singh hogged the headlines when executed parliament attack convict Afzal Guru mentioned his name in the letters. Guru had written that he was the man who handed over Mohammad, one of the four slain in parliament attack, to him. Guru was allegedly asked to arrange the logistics for the parliament attackers in New Delhi.

“Police has no record of his involvement in the case related to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru”, said Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone.

Nicknamed `Torture Singh’, he was notorious for torturing people in custody when he was posted at Special Operation Group (SOG) in Srinagar. He was named in the report entitled `Structures of Violence’ released by J&K Coalition of Civil Society and other groups in 2015. His name figured at case no 129 in which he was accused of killing a student Aijaz Ahmad Bazaz in custody.

“He was in SOG Cargo and Humhama for a long time. He conducted several anti-militancy operations. Last year he was even given a state award for his role in counter-insurgency operations. Despite being darling of cops, he did not have a clean slate. When he was posted in Traffic department, he was alleged to extort money from motorists”, said a top official

Even when he was caught along with militants, he tried to go in circles to mislead investigators. First, he told them that he was an undercover cop trying to persuade the militants for surrender. But when he was asked on whose directions he was doing it, he had no convincing answer. Later investigators questioned the militants who told them that he had charged Rs 12 lakh to take them out of the valley.

Police have now formed Special Investigation Team headed by the deputy inspector general of police rank officer to probe his role. Sources said sleuths are trying to draw parallels between his role in parliament attack and driving militants out of the valley. Investigators are trying to find out whether he was trying to take militants out by air given that he was posted in an anti-hijacking wing of the police.

Sources said multi-agency sleuths are interrogating him to find out his role and any other false-flag operation he might have conducted. So far, it has been established that he was hiding militants in his home and even couriering their weapons using his privilege as a policeman.

“We consider DySP Singh’s involvement as a heinous crime, and he will be dealt in the same manner as other arrested militants,” Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, told reporters on Sunday.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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