Chandigarh: Punjab Police Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh was on Monday put by NIA to exhaustive questioning for eight hours in connection with the Pathankot terror attack, during which contradictions were apparent in his statements to the investigators.
The agency is also concentrating to conclusively prove the identity of four terrorists, whose bodies were secured from the attack site as it got a Black Notice issued from Interpol.
The international notice is issued for identification of unidentified bodies found in a country, an MHA spokesperson said. 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 which left seven personnel dead, the sources said.
Singh, who arrived at agency headquarters here, was subjected to intense questioning between 11 am and 7 PM and asked to appear again for examination. Agency sources have not ruled out subjecting him to lie detector test as questioning will continue tomorrow when his cook Madan Gopal will also be examined by the terror investigation agency.
The sources claimed Gopal might be confronted with Singh who is still not giving clear answers to several key questions regarding his alleged abduction by attackers of the IAF base. The NIA has also summoned Gopal to the headquarters for questioning and if need be the two would be confronted, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
The central agency, which took over the case immediately after terrorists struck inside the IAF base during the intervening night of January 1 and 2, had summoned Singh as he was kidnapped by terrorists during the New Year night before they entered into the air base.
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 recorded statement of the caretaker of the shrine which 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 Gopal and 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, they said.
NIA had recored Singh’s statement in Pathankot but he has been asked to come on January 13 as his statements were also contradictory in nature, 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.