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Gurdaspur SP ‘less than truthful’ during questioning, suspects NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has yet to clear Punjab SP Salwinder Singh, who was allegedly abducted by a group of Pakistani terrorists before the daring attack on Pathankot air base.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2016 17:19 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Pathankot attack,Salwinder Singh,Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh
Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh arrives at NIA office at Jaisingh road in New Delhi, India, on Monday, January 11, 2016. (Hindustan Times)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has yet to clear Punjab superintendent of police Salwinder Singh, who was allegedly abducted by a group of Pakistani terrorists before they launched a daring attack on the Pathankot air base.

Sources said investigators suspected Singh has been “less than truthful” in his statements to the NIA during questioning.

“His status is yet to be decided. After the questioning, the NIA will review his answers to decide whether he is an accused or a witness in the case,” a Union home ministry official said.

Singh reached the NIA headquarters at 10.45am on Monday after being summoned by the anti-terror agency in connection with its investigation into the Pathankot attack. The police officer didn’t speak while entering the NIA office.

The officer had told his superiors that he and two of his companions — jeweler-friend Rajesh Verma and cook-cum-helper Madan Gopal — were abducted by the terrorists on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 when they were returning from a shrine.

NIA sources said several discrepancies have been found in the versions of Singh, his jeweler-friend and the cook.

Now, NIA officers will interrogate Singh in Delhi and the cook in Chandigarh.

The agency has yet to get credible answers to questions such as why Singh kept four mobile phones and helper Gopal had two mobile phones.

“Besides, his friend Verma and cook Gopal visited the same shrine on the morning of December 31 and remained there for more than 90 minutes before returning there that night with Salwinder. The NIA needs to know why they visited the shrine in the morning,” an officer said.

Singh was Gurdaspur superintendent of police (headquarters) but transferred to Jalandhar as assistant commandant of 75th battalion of Punjab Armed Police. He handed over charge on December 31.

The NIA has registered three cases in connection with the terror strike at Pathankot IAF base.

The first case pertains to Salwinder Singh’s abduction and the second for the killing of the taxi driver. Both the cases were registered at Narot Jaimal Singh Police Station in Pathankot district.

The third and the main case, registered at Police Station Division No. 2 Pathankot, relates to the terrorist attack on the Air Force Station.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Jan 11, 2016 12:31 IST