The National Investigation Agency on Monday, 6 July, filed a charge sheet against six persons for a conspiracy to wage war against India and other terror charges, including Jammu and Kashmir deputy superintendent of police Davinder Singh, in a special Jammu court.
According to a press release by the NIA, the accused:
“...were part of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Pakistani State Agencies to commit violent acts and to wage war against the Union of India.”
Singh, a decorated yet long controversial police officer, had been arrested in January while accompanying two wanted Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists in a car en route to Delhi. The arrest made headlines because of his time in charge at Pulwama (before the Pulwama attack in January 2019 on a CRPF convoy), as well as the fact that Parliament Attack convict Afzal Guru had claimed he’d become involved in it at Singh’s behest.
IS THIS THE CASE FOR WHICH DAVINDER SINGH HAD RECENTLY BEEN GRANTED BAIL?
In June, a further controversy erupted after Singh was granted bail by a Delhi court, as the Delhi Police special cell had failed to file its charge sheet against him in time.
However, as clarified by the NIA at the time, this was in connection with a separate terror-related case, and had nothing to do with the NIA’s investigation of his involvement with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
Singh continues to remain in judicial custody in the NIA case, for which the charge sheet has now been filed, precluding the possibility for his release on bail at this time.
WHAT IS THE NIA CASE ABOUT?
On 11 January, the J&K Police apprehended a vehicle in which two “dreaded terrorists of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen” were travelling: the terror outfit’s Shopian and Ganderbal commander Syed Naveed Mushtaq, as well as Rafi Ahmad Rather. In the car with them were Davinder Singh (referred to as Devender Singh in the NIA press release) and an advocate named Irfan Shafi Mir.
Their car was stopped on the road from Srinagar to Jammu, and during a search of the vehicle, the J&K Police recovered an AK-47 rifle, three pistols and a cache of ammunitions and explosives, the NIA stated.
The case was transferred to the NIA on 17 January. After interrogating the four arrested men, they conducted searches at 15 places in J&K. Three more men, including Mushtaq’s younger brother, were arrested from January to April for being part of what the NIA terms a “conspiracy to extend support to the banned terrorist organisation Hizb-ul-Mujahideen by way of raising and transferring funds to the HM militants, harbouring them and supplying them arms, ammunition and explosives to carry out subversive activities”.
They allege that the Pakistan-based leadership of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (including Sayeed Salahudeen, Amir Khan, Khursheed Alam and Nazar Mehmood) have been conspiring with the “Pakistani establishment”, including ISI officials such as Umar Cheema, Ahshan Chaudhary and Sohail Abbas. The conspiracy involved identifying ways to fund, arm and sustain the banned terror outfit’s operations in J&K.
The NIA charges against the accused include criminal conspiracy and attempt to wage war under the Indian Penal Code, terror offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, as well as provisions relating to illegal guns, ammunition and explosives under the Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act.
The NIA charge sheet is against six of the seven people arrested by them so far. The investigation into Tariq Ahmad Mir, the last person to be arrested, on 29 April, is still ongoing.
HOW IS DAVINDER SINGH INVOLVED IN THE CONSPIRACY?
According to the NIA, Davinder Singh was in touch with officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi through secure social media platforms. They allege that he was “being groomed by Pakistani officials for obtaining sensitive information”.
The agency says that Singh was allegedly helping the other accused obtain weapons and ammunition from across the border, which were then used for terrorist activities. The press release also appears to draw a connection with former police constable Naveed Babu, who deserted the police force and was supposedly responsible for terror killings, including those of labourers and truck drivers in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K.
The NIA also alleges that in February 2019, Davinder Singh helped protect Naveed Mushtaq from heightened surveillance by the security agencies, arranging safe shelter for him and his associate in Jammu. Singh also allegedly used his own vehicle to transport Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists to avoid scrutiny.