Punjab Police Officer Salwinder Singh Questioned By National Investigation Agency

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Punjab Police Officer Salwinder Singh Questioned By National Investigation Agency

Salwinder Singh along with his cook and a friend were kidnapped by the terrorists, who later used the police officer's official car to enter the air force base.

Senior Punjab Police officer Salwinder Singh was questioned by the National Investigation Agency or NIA on Monday in connection with the Pathankot attack after suspicion over alleged contradictions in his statements during his interrogation.

Salwinder Singh along with his cook and a friend were kidnapped by the terrorists, who later used the SP's official car to enter the air force base.

The NIA, which took over the case immediately after terrorists struck inside the air force base during the intervening night of January 1 and 2, had summoned Mr Singh for questioning.

Mr Singh, who is at present a Superintendent of Police rank officer posted as Assistant Commandant of 75th battalion of Punjab Armed Police after he was removed as SP (headquarters) Gurdaspur, had allegedly given contradictory statements about his kidnapping and sequences of events preceding and succeeding the hostage event, official sources said.

The NIA has also summoned his cook Madan Gopal to the headquarters for questioning and if need be the two would be confronted, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

The NIA has recorded statement of the caretaker of the shrine which Mr Singh had said that he had visited with Gopal and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma, who was left bleeding with a cut below his throat by the terrorists after abducting the other two.

The caretaker, who is related to the cook, had told the sleuths that Mr Gopal and Mr Verma had come in the morning of December 31 and again in the evening and he was not aware of the reason for his visit to the shrine twice, official sources said.

NIA has recored his statement in Pathankot but he has been asked to come on January 13 as his statements were also contradictory in nature, the sources said.

Meanwhile, a Home Ministry spokesperson said NIA has moved to secure a Black Notice from Interpol (used to identify unidentified bodies) to ascertain identity of four bodies of terrorists who attacked Pathankot air base.

The NIA has also sent some body parts to CFSL to ascertain whether they belong to the remaining two terrorists who were involved in the 80-hour long gun battle with security forces in which seven personnel were martyred, the sources said.

A 10-member NIA team continuing search operation in Punjab has already recovered AK-47 magazine, mobile phone and binoculars from IAF base in Pathankot, the spokesperson said.

NIA teams are working across Punjab and are examining witnesses and carrying out search operations at the encounter site as well as outside the base, he said.

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