The Pathankot attackers, having learnt from a mistake during the Dinanagar attack after which two global positioning system (GPS) devices were recovered, destroyed their navigation device in all likelihood, investigators told HT on Wednesday.
GPS devices use satellite-based navigation to help pinpoint a geographical location.
“Four Pathankot airbase attackers who first killed a taxi driver and hijacked the vehicle of Gurdaspur superintendent of police Salwinder Singh on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 were in all likelihood using a navigation device. After hijacking Salwinder’s vehicle, one of the terrorists drove it and reached almost 500 metres near the airbase,” a senior investigator said, requesting anonymity.
“It was impossible for the attacker to know the way to the airbase. We believe they were using a navigation device which in all probability was destroyed later,” the investigator added.
Although there was a navigation system installed in the hijacked vehicle, the terrorists never used it.
At the time of hijacking, Salwinder was traveling with his cook Madan Gopal and jeweller friend Rajesh Verma.
“All three have indicated that the attackers were using a navigation device. We didn’t find any navigation device in the items recovered from the dead bodies of terrorists. It seems that in all likelihood it was destroyed,” said the investigator.
On July 27 last year, three attackers using GPS devices stormed a police building in Dinanagar in Pathankot’s neighbouring district Gurdaspur. The analysis of the devices revealed the coordinates for the targets had been fed in at Sargodha in Pakistan, revealing the attackers were from that country.
“Though the phone calls made by the (Pathankot) attackers have revealed the complicity of Pakistan-based elements, they seemed to have taken the precaution of destroying the navigation device to cover their tracks,” the investigator said.