Pathankot terror attack: NIA steps up probe; Army calls operation 'complete success'

Seeking to unravel how the brazen Pathankot attack was mounted, the NIA on Wednesday quizzed an SP rank officer who was allegedly abducted by the terrorists.

Pathankot terror attack: NIA steps up probe; Army calls operation 'complete success'
Indian Army soldiers arrive at air force base in Pathankot on Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016
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Pathankot: Seeking to unravel how the brazen Pathankot attack was mounted, the NIA on Wednesday quizzed an SP rank officer who was allegedly abducted by the terrorists, recreated the scene of his abduction and visited the border village from where the perpetrators were believed to have sneaked into India.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) team took Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh to the place near Kolian village from where he was allegedly abducted in his car along with two others.

The NIA team also took the officer to the place where he was dumped by the terrorists and at the spot where his car was found abandoned.

NIA quizzes Gurdaspur SP

The SP, who was first questioned by NIA officials at his residence in Gurdaspur on Tuesday evening, was questioned by the NIA team on Wednesday also.

His jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and cook Madan Gopal were also questioned.

The SP is being questioned as a suspect in the case due to inconsistencies in his version of the abduction and the versions of his two companions, a police source said. His role was put under the scanner on Tuesday evening.

The NIA team was looking at what the SP and others did for nearly three hours after they left the shrine at 9.30 p.m. in Kathua district till they were allegedly abducted at 12.30 am.

The police superintendent, who was transferred from Gurdaspur district last week only, had claimed that he, along with Verma and the cook, were stopped and abducted by 4-5 heavily armed terrorists near Kolia village, 25 km from Pathankot, on the night of December 31.

The police officer has said his car was stopped around 12.30 a.m. (December 31 night), while the attack began early on Saturday (January 2).

He claimed that his senior officers did not take his information on presence of the terrorists seriously initially.

BSF to deploy more men on border

On the other hand, the BSF will deploy around 2,000 additional personnel along the Punjab and Jammu borders in order to plug unfenced riverine and forest gaps even as it submitted a fresh report to the government today stating there was no evidence of infiltration along the IB in the wake of the terrorist attack on the IAF base.

 

Officials said Border Security Force submitted a report to the Union Home Ministry after force Director General DK Pathak undertook a forward area tour along the International Border (IB) yesterday, including at Bamiyal, a border village in Pathankot, which is believed to have been used by terrorists to infiltrate into the country and attack the air base.

Pathankot operation a complete success: Army

Meanwhile, the Army today said that an inquiry had been ordered by Air Force and NIA was investigating the case as to how militants entered the station and what time they entered.

 

Lt Gen Kamal Jit Singh when asked when it received the first alert about terrorists, said, "we got information on January one during afternoon."

"In this case it was a serious alert as we were told that 6-8 (terrorists were there)," he said.

 

To a question about the source of the alerts, Lt Gen Singh said, "we got alert from Punjab police also and from central agencies."

However, he said the alert issued by Punjab police on December 30, was very general which said that 15 militants had entered into the Indian territory.

 

Asked why terrorists struck at the air force base, Lt Gen said, "it is strategically important. Imagine the kind of publicity you can gain that you have targeted strategic air base. Secondly it is in the vicinity. It is easy to reach here. It is only 25 km from the area."

To a question on militant bodies, he said, "There are four bodies of militants. Two have been cooked up. Some parts of bodies were scattered around there which are being forensically examined. The other four bodies which are recovered a call will be taken whether to destroy them or not because they were carrying explosives."

 

Lt Gen claimed that the operation launched against the terrorists was a "complete success" which saw "synergy" between the NSG, Army and Air Force.

(With Agency inputs)

 

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