New Delhi: The arrest of Jammu and Kashmir deputy superintendent of police Davinder Singh, who was caught ferrying terrorists, has not just opened up a can of worms but also triggered a political slugfest.
Questioning the role of Singh in the Pulwama attack where he was posted as DySP (DR), Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury said “the chink in the armour is exposed in the Valley”.
He added on Twitter, “Had #DavindarSingh by default been Davindar khan, the reaction of troll regiment of RSS would have been more strident and vociferous. Enemies of our country ought to be condemned irrespective of Colour, Creed, and Religion. (sic)”
Chowdhury also said a “fresh look” was needed on the Pulwama incident in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus.
In a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad after the attack, India has highlighted Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
Questions had then arisen over the availability of such a large quantity of explosives as well as the easy movement of the terrorists.
“Now question will certainly be arisen as to who were the real culprits behind the gruesome Pulwama incident, need a fresh look on it,” he said.
On Monday, Congress had hinted at a “bigger conspiracy”, with party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala asking if Singh was carrying the terrorists on his own or “is he only a pawn, as master conspirators are elsewhere?”
The government, however, dismissed as baseless the allegations by the Congress. Government sources said it was the “success of security apparatus that a serving Dy SP was arrested and booked on terror charges”.
The government sources said the Pulwama attack was carried out by the JEM and accepted by Mufti Asgar in his speech.
“After Pulwama, India gave evidence to Pakistan and the international community. It was because of Indian evidence that Pakistan was forced to shut down some of its training centres and is struggling to come out of FATF,” they said.
Davinder Singh was arrested on Saturday after police intercepted his vehicle and found two militants inside it along with five grenades.
The officials said Singh is alleged to have been ferrying the militants from Shopian area, possibly out of the Valley. Two AK-47 rifles were also recovered in a subsequent raid at his house.
On Sunday, Singh was on Sunday booked under the Unlawful Activity Act and authorities said he will be tried as a "terrorist".
The DSP was posted with the anti-hijacking unit at Srinagar Airport and was one of the officials that received the 16-member delegation of foreign ambassadors which visited Kashmir on Thursday.
On a question about reports claiming Singh's role in ferrying Afzal Guru, hanged for his involvement in the Parliament attack, to Delhi, Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said: "There are no such records. However, the police will look into the matter."
In a letter written in 2013, Afzal Guru, who was executed after being convicted for the Parliament attack, explained how "DSP Davinder Singh", the then deputy superintendent of police of Special Operations Group, had asked him to "take Mohammad", a co-accused in the Parliament attack case, "to Delhi, rent a flat for his stay and purchase a car for him".
However, the angle was probed and could not be substantiated with any evidence, the officials said.
The Jammu and Kashmir deputy superintendent of police has claimed he was organising the surrender of the two Hizbul men but police investigation shows no one among the higher-ups was kept in the loop about his plans.
Sources told CNN News18 that in his preliminary interrogation, Singh has claimed he was accompanying Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Syed Naveed Mushtaq and terrorist Rafi Rather to organise their surrender. Lawyer-turned-overground worker Irfan Shafi Mir was also with them. “He has made this claim of surrender but we are investigating,” an officer said.
Sources say arrested terrorists when questioned about the surrender claim denied knowledge of such a plan.
“Preliminary probe shows Singh offered help to the terrorists to cross Banihal tunnel in lieu of money,” a Jammu and Kashmir police officer told CNN News18.
Officials said Rs 12 lakh was the amount agreed upon. Singh himself sat in the vehicle in the hope that no one will stop the car being driven by a DySP.
The joint interrogation team has established that Singh had no authorisation to organise surrender of the Hizbul terrorists. "No one in the police or agencies was kept in the loop about his plans," a source said.