Pathankot: Punjab Cop Face-To-Face With Cook, Friend During Questioning Today

NEW DELHI: Punjab Police officer Salwinder Singh’s cook and jeweller friend, who were allegedly abducted along with him by the terrorists who later attacked the Pathankot air base, will be brought to Delhi where the National Investigation Agency or NIA is questioning the cop.

The three men will be made to confront each other, sources said. The statements of the cook Madan Gopal and the jeweller Rajesh Verma are being recorded now.

Mr Singh’s account of the alleged abduction, less than two days before six terrorists attacked the base, is riddled with contradictions, investigators say. Mr Singh could undergo a polygraph or lie detector test.

Salwinder Singh, who was a Superintendent of Police in Punjab’s Gurdaspur, which borders Pakistan, has claimed the three men were waylaid, abducted and later released by the terrorists dressed in army fatigues on the night of December 31.

The terrorists took away his official car and used it to enter Pathankot, where they attacked the air force base, one of the largest and more sensitive military installations in the western sector close to the India-Pakistan border, on January 2.

Seven security personnel were martyred and 20 were injured in the attack. A lieutenant colonel of the elite National Security Guard’s bomb disposal squad was among those martyred in the strike.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the NIA has also moved to secure a Black Notice from Interpol – used to identify unidentified bodies – to ascertain the identity of four of the terrorists whose bodies were recovered from the air base.

A 10-member NIA team continues search operations in Punjab and has recovered an AK-47 magazine, mobile phone and binoculars from the IAF base in Pathankot.

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, a spokesperson said.