After interrogating Punjab police officer Salwinder Singh for more than 40 hours spread over five days, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found no evidence so far that connects him with the Pathankot attackers, sources told HT.
A senior home ministry official, requesting anonymity, said: “There is nothing so far on record that shows that Salwinder had anything to do with the Pathankot attackers. After interrogating him alone for four days and then jointly with his cook, Madan Gopal, and the caretaker of Panj Peer Dargah, Somraj, the NIA sleuths more or less believe that he was abducted by terrorists. But leaving nothing to chance, the agency has decided to go for his lie-detector or polygraph test, likely to take place on Monday, for which the court’s permission will be sought.”
Counter-terror sources said Salwinder had told interrogators that he left Gurdaspur on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 around 9.15pm for Dargah Panj Peer. He reached there around 10.45pm.
A counter-terror official privy to details of Salwinder’s interrogation said, “He claims that he sometimes suffers from seizures or fits which are not related to any medical condition. He stayed there with Madan Gopal and friend Rajesh Verma for around 30 minutes and had tea. On the way back, around 11.45pm, the Pathankot attackers stopped his vehicle and overpowered the trio. Along with his cook, he was blindfolded and left with hands and legs tied by terrorists. The latter told them not to move even one step.”
The official added that out of fear of terrorists, Salwinder and his cook kept sitting there. Once assured that the terrorists were not coming back, they untied themselves somehow.
“Salwinder made the first call around 3am to a woman friend, who informed his wife. Then he informed police as well,” the official added.
The official argued that the NIA probe was regarding the Pathankot terror attack, not about Salwinder’s personal life or his marital or disciplinary problems.
Binoculars found marked as US army property
New Delhi: The set of binoculars recovered from the site of the operation at the Pathankot airbase has been found marked as US army property.
This is not the first time that a device marked as US army property has been recovered from terrorists who came from Pakistan to carry out suicide attacks here.
During the July 27, 2015, Dinanagar attack, three terrorists had brought a night vision device, marked as US government property. When checked with the US authorities, it was found that the device was lost by the American army in Afghanistan.
The serial number will be shared with the US to ascertain where the equipment was lost, NIA sources said.