The Punjab Police have dubbed as ‘factually incorrect’ Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra’s conjecture that the Pathankot airbase attack could have been averted had the Dinanagar terror strike case been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
When terrorists attacked the airbase on January 2 — the second strike within six months in Punjab it brought under the spotlight the July 27, 2015, terrorist strike.
Three Pakistani fidayeen had stormed Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district before they were neutralised by Punjab Police after a 12-hour gun battle. Later, the state government had refused to transfer the investigation to the NIA, taking the plea that the state police had ‘enough professional and technical efficiency’.
On the NIA’s foundation day in New Delhi on January 19, Vohra had stated that had the Dinanagar case been given immediately to the NIA, it could have identified the routes of infiltration by now and the Pathankot incident would not have happened.
Additional director general of police (ADGP) Rohit Choudhary, the head of the special investigation team (SIT) on the Dinanagar terror attack, had on January 25 sent a detailed report to Punjab Police chief Suresh Arora, listing a series of mechanical and technical evidences generated to pinpoint the routes through which the Dinanagar attack ultras had sneaked in.
“Based on the evidence collected (corroborated by a team of experts from the National Technical Research Organisation), it was concluded that the Pakistan-based terrorists entered India after crossing the Ravi River near Mastgarh village, Narot Jaimal Singh police station, Pathankot district,” the SIT chief informed the director general of police (DGP), saying that this finding was also communicated to the ministry of home affairs (MHA).
“The SIT identified the route… based on which the state government had recommended strengthening of deployment of the Border Security Force (BSF) at the Bamiyal sector… it would be factually incorrect to conclude that the Dinanagar probe was mishandled, resulting in the Pathankot attack,” reads ADGP Choudhary’s letter, suggesting to the DGP to apprise the J&K governor of the facts.
The ADGP’s seven-page communiqué points out that the Punjab Police also liaised with different security and intelligence agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the BSF, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) while carrying out the probe that ‘brought out facts scientifically’.
Regarding the GPS and the NVD (night vision device), the CBI was approached for collecting more evidence from foreign nations, while a special team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) examined the NVD which had a marking ‘US government property’. The report of the army on disposable rocket launcher (DRL) recovered from the killed ultras had been received.
A detailed scientific analysis and route mapping of the GPS (global positioning system) devices recovered from the three killed terrorists established that the terrorists had entered Dinanagar from Pakistan. “This fact has been corroborated by a team of experts from the NTRO,” the SIT head has said.
Last year, when the pressure was mounting to hand over the case to the NIA, the Parkash Singh Badal government had told the MHA that the state police were of the view that transferring the case to some other agency, including the NIA, would not only disturb the continuity of the ongoing probe but also ‘jeopardise the sustained and long-term efforts’ required to be done by the state police to ensure the safety and security of the state.