Agencies quiz IAF officer held near Pakistan border

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2014 10:39 IST

Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Shashank Shekhar, apprehended close to the India-Pakistan border in Srinagar district on Monday, has been handed over to the joint interrogation centre (JIC).

A team of Anupgarh police brought him to the district headquarters and produced him before JIC, where various security and intelligence agencies questioned him on Tuesday. The officer was detained while reportedly trying to approach the border fencing in Anupgarh. BSF sources said that during initial interrogation, he was found to be mentally ill.

Shekhar and his wife, who is also a wing commander, had divorced, and since then the former had remained mentally upset. Shekhar deserted the force twice in 2011 and 2012. In view of his actions, the IAF kept him away from field postings, the sources said, adding that he was currently posted in the educational cell in Chandigarh.

Shekhar told the authorities that after obtaining leave from August 23, he visited Meerut, Haridwar, Jaipur and Suratgarh, and then he reached Anupgarh.

One ATM card, nine blank cheques, identity card, arms license, passport, a list of phone numbers, pan card, canteen smart card and a guide map were recovered from his possession, sources said.

They said it was still unclear as how he reached Anupgarh.

He said that he strayed in this area, but intelligence agencies were not believing his explanation because his passport was found hidden in his socks.

According to information, he had earlier been posted at Suratgarh air force station for two years.

ASP (Raisinghnagar) Devendra Bishnoi said he seemed to be mentally disturbed, but keeping in mind the recent terror alerts about armed infiltration from the Pakistan side, Shekhar had been sent to JIC for thorough probe.

Having army cantonment, air force station, air base, Suratgarh thermal power plant and Mahajan firing range of army, Ganaganagar district is considered very sensitive from the point of view of national security.

About two years ago, intelligence agencies had arrested Pavan Sharma, a clerk in SDM office in Suratgarh, on the suspicion of spying for Pakistan.

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