Pathankot terror attack: Abducted SP Salwinder Singh under NIA scanner
Pathankot: Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, who claimed that his abduction by terrorists and the subsequent alert had given security forces an opportunity to prepare and avert a bigger casualty, is now under the scanner of investigators for his possible role in the terror attack on the Pathankot air base.
Abducted SP Satwinder Singh will be questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) again. According to sources, the statements of Singh, his cook Madan Lal and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma do not match. Moreover, Singh's own inconsistency in his statements to the investigating agencies has risen doubts over his version of the story and his possible role in it.
Investigators are also not convinced of Singh's version of the abduction and subsequent release.
This, they believe, is not the modus operandi adopted by the Fidayeen or suicide squad militants. Singh's version also raises doubts as the terrorists had shot down a driver and a shopkeeper in Dinanagar. Why then did they release Singh is what investigators want to arrive at.
According to latest inputs, a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the case, will take Singh to the spot to corroborate his statements and his version of the story.
Sources tell India TV that the NIA will be taking Singh to the houses where he claimed to have knocked after being ‘let off' by the terrorists who carried out the attack. The NIA team also wants to interrogate the houses that he knocked on and the one he went into.
The NIA team also wants to get detailed inputs from the police personnel posted on the route that the SP's ‘hijacked' vehicle took on the intervening night of the attack. According to the CCTV footage from the toll plaza at Pathankot and Gurudaspur, the SP's vehicle crossed them at around 11.30 PM. Now, investigators want details of the movement at the Katloh bridge and the Kolian-Taragarh road check points. The vehicle is seen crossing the Kolian check point twice.
The investigators want to establish the origin and medium of a purported message which is believed to have conveyed that the SP was out for a surprise check.
Singh's past record is also not helping him much. According to sources, Singh was close to two prominent drug mafias that ran operations in Punjab's border districts. Initial investigations have pointed to Singh's involvement in cross-border drug trade as well.
Singh's role has been under doubt for other factors as well. In fact, there are five cases of sexual abuse registered against him by woman constables. Moreover, he has also been recently accused of helping a drug mafia. Investigators are now probing details of Singh for his role as part of a drug and gun-runner syndicate.
It was on the basis of these complaints that he was transferred to the 75 Battalion of the Punjab Armed Police as an Assistant Commandant. This transfer was viewed as more of a shunt posting in view of the allegations against him. Singh was to join his new posting in Jalandhar next week after his transfer on December 23.
Besides Singh, the investigating agencies will also be questioning 40 people in connection with the attack, with many already being interrogated. Agencies are also likely to question people residing in the border villages as well. Villages such as Talur Majar, Kolia and Gulpur Simbi are also under the area of investigations. The NIA is also questioning PS Narot Jaimal Singh to get more details on the issue.
Details of vehicles that crossed during the intervening phase prior to the operations are also being looked into.