Jammu: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed the charge-sheet against Jammu and Kashmir police officer Davender Singh, who was arrested over his alleged links with separatist militants in January this year, and six others, including Syed Naveed Mushtaq alias Naveed Babu, a senior commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) outfit, in a special court in Jammu.
Singh, then posted as Deputy Superintendent of Police at the Anti-Hijacking Squad at the Srinagar International Airport, was arrested along with Naveed Babu and his associate Asif Ahmed Rather by the Jammu and Kashmir police in southern Kulgam district on January 11.
The police officer, who was soon placed under suspension, and the militant duo were travelling in a Hyundai i20 car along the highway connecting J-K’s twin capitals- Srinagar and Jammu- and were reportedly on their way to Chandigarh.
The car was being driven allegedly by Kashmiri lawyer Irfan Shafi Mir. Later, Naveed Babu’s brother Syed Irfan Ahmed was also taken into custody by the police and both he and Mir were accused of being the Hizbul’s Over Ground Workers (OWGs).
Apart from these five persons, Tanveer Ahmad Wani, a local resident enlisted as a trader with now defunct cross-LoC trade, too, has been shown as an accused in the charge-sheet filed under Sections 120B, 121, 121A and 122 of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 17, 18, 18B, 19, 20, 23, 38, 39 and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 25 (1) (a) and 35 of Arms Act and Section 4 and 5 of Explosive Substances Act.
The case was initially investigated by the J-K police which had claimed that Singh had accompanied militants or helped them in relocating to various parts of the country on different occasions in lieu of money and other considerations. The police had claimed one AK-47 rifle, three pistols and a cache of ammunition and explosives were recovered from the car and in subsequent raids at various places in the Valley. However, the Centre later asked the NIA to probe the case.
The NIA which took over the investigation of the case on January 17 said that during the course of investigation it put the four main accused, who were caught by the police while travelling out of the Valley, under sustained interrogation and also conducted searches at fifteen places in the Valley.
Three more persons Irfan Ahmad, Tanveer Ahmad Wani and Tariq Ahmad Mir were arrested subsequently on charges of being “part of the conspiracy to extend support to the banned militant organization Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) 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”.
It claimed that the investigation revealed that the accused were part of a “deep-rooted conspiracy” hatched by the Pakistan-based Hizbul and Pakistan’s state agencies “to commit violent acts and to wage war against the Union of India”.
“The investigation has revealed that Pakistan based leadership of the HM namely Sayed Salahuddin (Chief), Amir Khan ( Deputy Chief), Khursheed Alam (Operational Head), Nazar Mehmood (Financial Head) and others along with Pakistani establishment is extending support to the cadre and commanders of Hizbul based in Jammu & Kashmir”, the NIA statement said.
It added, “The investigation also revealed that accused Irfan Shafi Mir not only met HM leadership in Pakistan but also Umar Cheema, Ahshan Chaudhary, Sohail Abbas and others of Pakistan’s Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) and was tasked to identify and activate the new hawala channels for transfer of money for sustaining militant activities in Kashmir Valley. Investigation also revealed that certain officials of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were in constant touch with Mir who was provided with funds to organize seminars in J-K to mobilize the masses against the Government of India”.
The NIA further alleged that Mir also received instructions and money from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and facilitated the visa applications for a number of Kashmiris for their visit to Pakistan.
It said that accused Singh also was in touch with certain officials of Pakistan mission through secure social media platforms. “Investigation revealed that he was being groomed by Pakistani officials for obtaining sensitive information”, it said.
The charge-sheet said that Naveed Babu, a former constable, had deserted J-K Police force along with certain weapons and was responsible for various killings, including incidents of terror in which labourers and truck drivers were killed after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
“Naveed Babu had made efforts to recruit gullible Muslim youths to join as cadre of HM. He was also receiving funds from LoC traders and accused Tanveer Ahmad Wani who was an ex-president of LoC Traders Association, was providing him funds with the help of other traders based in PoK," the charge-sheet read.
It further said that investigation also revealed that the accused were obtaining weapons and ammunition from across the border with the help of arms smugglers and accused police officer Singh. “These weapons were later used for terrorist activities”, it said.
According to the NIA, it was revealed during the investigation that Singh in order to shield Naveed Babu from the “heightened surveillance of security agencies”, had in February 2019 together with Mir and Syed Irfan arranged “safe shelter” for him and his associate in Jammu. “Accused Devender Singh used his own vehicle for the movement of Hizbul militants and also assured them help in procuring weapons,” the charge-sheet alleged.
The NIA claimed that the investigation in the cases further brought on record that the Pakistani establishment has been “devising all possible ways and means to fund, arm and sustain the militant activities of the banned militant organization HM”. It added that further investigation into the involvement of Tariq Ahmad Mir and others in the case is underway.