Davinder Singh knew Naveed Ahmed Shah for 7 years

As SPO, Naveed used to visit Davinder's home on quite a few occasions.

Hyderabad: It was about seven years ago that Naveed Ahmed Shah alias Babu, then a newly recruited special police officer (SPO), first came in contact with deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Davinder Singh. Since they belonged to south Kashmir, Naveed, in the course of his duties, would meet his superior regularly, particularly to share information about the terror network in his home town.

Over the years, Naveed was absorbed into the police department as a constable. By then, he had a fair idea of Davinder’s reputation when it came to making money. Both are then believed to have joined hands as Naveed became a conduit for Davinder to extort money from terror suspects. Their friendship continued till the police arrested them in each other’s company at Qazigund on January 11.

In a disclosure that has left all agencies working in Jammu and Kashmir red-faced, Davinder revealed to his interrogators that his “association” with Naveed began seven years ago and remained that way even after the latter joined the ranks of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Highly placed sources associated with the investigation told The Asian Age that Davinder, who is presently in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), first met Naveed in his office sometime in early 2013. Since Naveed belonged to south Kashmir, he just wanted to call on Davinder and introduce himself. Since Naveed was well-connected with the local populace not only in Shopian but also in Pulwama, he would regularly get information about the movement and designs of terrorists, which he would share with Davinder, who worked in different posts in that period.

Over a period of time, Naveed, a resident of Nazneenpora in Shopian, started working as a conduit for Davinder. As SPO, Naveed used to visit Davinder’s home on quite a few occasions and used to be seen regularly in his office. Though sources indicated that Naveed had worked under Davinder at some point, the same was not confirmed by senior officials.

There were several underground cadres (working for terror groups) who were in touch with both of them; something that is common in anti-terror operations. Sometimes, these cadres would provide information to buy their own safety and at other times due to ideological differences or tussles between local and foreign militants. “Both Davinder and Naveed made the most of this information, making huge money in the process,” sources said, adding that Davinder even had a share in the cash rewards on the heads of various terrorists who surrendered.

By the end of 2016 however, Naveed, who had a close association with militants and their handlers across the border, made up his mind to join the ranks of the Hizbul Mujahideen. In 2017, while he was posted at the Food Corporation of India’s premises in Badgam’s Chandpora, he decamped with four rifles from the guard room and joined the Hizbul Mujahideen. In 2018, he was involved in snatching a weapon from a legislator’s house.

Even after he joined the Hizbul, Naveed remained in touch with Davinder all through. Sources said that Davinder used to talk to not only Naveed but other militants through him. They would communicate through various apps and therefore, never came on the radar of security agencies. “With Naveed in the Hizbul Mujahideen and in a position to pay money, Davinder started helping him and his family members by providing them safe houses and transport besides parting with sensitive information. He ferried Naveed on an earlier occasion as well,” they said.

Naveed alias Babu, who is the Hizbul Mujahideen’s second major commander after Riyaz Naikoo, was behind the killing of 11 truck drivers, non-local labourers, and apple traders in south Kashmir. He was also responsible for the killing of a few policemen. A total 17 FIRs are registered against him.

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