The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Sunday said a senior police official, part of the strategic anti-hijacking team at Srinagar airport, had been arrested along with two militants, PTI reported. Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Davinder Singh was caught on Saturday while ferrying the militants, reportedly from Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba, in a vehicle in Kulgam district.

“The police officer [Singh] has worked on several anti-militancy operations,” said Jammu and Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar at a press conference. “But the circumstances under which he was arrested yesterday when he was driving the car with militants towards Jammu is a heinous crime. That is why he is being treated at par with the militants.” Kumar refused to disclose further details of the investigation as it was at an initial stage, adding that Singh was being interrogated in custody.

Following reports of interception of the car with Singh and the other two, a few militants escaped from a hideout in Shopian district, Kumar claimed. The hiding place was eight feet under the ground and had food items and other material stored.

Kumar refuted media reports on links between Singh and Afzal Guru, the prime accused in the 2001 Parliament attack case, and said there was no such record of the arrested police officer’s involvement in the Parliament attack. However, he added: “...but we will ask him about this”. In 2013, Afzal Guru had claimed that Singh had asked him to accompany one of the attackers to Delhi and arrange his stay there.

On Saturday’s operation, Kumar said the Shopian superintendent of police had received information about the militants. “The SP Shopian informed me and I directed DIG [deputy inspector general of police] South Kashmir and a naka [checkpoint] was laid,” he said. “The car was searched and two wanted militants were there. A deputy superintendent of police was also there along with a resident who is an advocate and a listed OGW [overground worker] in our records.

Some items were recovered from Singh’s residence, Kumar said, adding that they were brought into the case’s first information report. On the question of whether Singh’s involvement with militants posed a greater security risk, Kumar said that the arrested police officer was on duty and there was no way to stop him without knowing about his association with the militants, which was revealed later.

Singh was seen along with the foreign delegation that visited Jammu and Kashmir. Kumar said that a joint interrogation was being conducted of the three with the involvement of all security agencies, including the Criminal Investigation Department, the Intelligence Bureau, and the Research and Analysis Wing.

The inspector general dismissed allegations of the police’s association with militants, saying that there can be no generalisation on the matter. He added that the Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel were on a par with the National Investigation Agency in conducting the inquiry of the senior officer’s role in the case.