NEW DELHI: In yet another twist in the Pathankot airbase attack, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday revealed that investigators had also recovered a Chinese wireless set from Salwinder Singh’s vehicle. NIA officials recovered the wireless set while searching for evidence and clues in connection with its probe. According to the agency, the wireless set has been sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh for data extraction. The revelation was made even as Salwinder Singh, a superintendent of police-rank officer, was questioned for the third consecutive day at the NIA headquarters.
NIA officials refused to give further details about the recovery. They also did not disclose when exactly the wireless set was recovered. “The date of recovery is a matter of investigation and cannot be disclosed,” said an NIA official.
The recovery of Chinese wireless set from the SP has raised doubts about his involvement in drugs racket. Incidentally, as the SP has got the political shelter of Akali leader Sucha Singh Langah, the trouble appears to be mounting for later’s political career too.
Meanwhile, sources said that numbers extracted from Singh’s phone are also being checked after it came to the fore that some of the numbers in his phones belonged to alleged drug racketeers. According to NIA sources, Singh defended himself by stating that some of the numbers found in his phone were his sources who often help police by providing important information.
According to sources, the agency is now looking into the networks of drug smugglers operating in Punjab after suspicions that the same routes used by the smugglers might have been used by the Jaish militants.
The NIA had also summoned Somraj, caretaker of Panj Peer Dargah in Punjab, which Singh had claimed to have visited before he was kidnapped by militants who attacked the Pathankot Air Force base hours later. Somraj will be joining probe on Thursday while Salwinder’s cook, who was also a witness to the incident, will be questioned this week as well.
The SP had claimed that he, his jeweller-friend Rajesh Verma and cook (Madan Gopal) were returning after visiting a shrine on the night of December 31 in his private vehicle when a group of armed men in military fatigues waylaid them. Singh had further claimed that he and his associates were blindfolded by the militants, who also tied their hands and drove around the vehicle before dumping the three. While Singh and the cook were freed without any harm, Verma’s throat was slit but he survived miraculously.
Even though Singh informed police about his kidnapping, police officers whom the SP had informed about the incident initially did not take him seriously, thus leading to some crucial hours being lost.
However, during investigations it was brought to agency’s notice that Singh’s private car was not stopped at any check point as it was using the blue beacon allotted to him by the police department. The agency is also doubting his claim of visiting the shrine to offer prayers after it found footprints of Pakistan’s Epcot brand shoes from Bamiyal area in Punjab. The area where the footprints were found is very close to this shrine.
Moreover, the agency is also looking into the claim of the shrine keeper who said that he had never seen Singh visiting it even though the SP said he was a regular at the shrine.