Combing operations continue in Pathankot; focus on NIA probe

Pathankot/Gurdaspur (Punjab), Jan 6 (IANS) Combing operations continued on Wednesday to sanitise the Pathankot Air Force base in Punjab even as the NIA formed various teams to probe the terrorist attack on the high-security defence facility.

Sources in the Indian Air Force (IAF) said that every inch of the Air Force Station (AFS) was being thoroughly scanned.

The focus on Wednesday was on the investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the entire terrorist attack, including any lapses by the police and security agencies.

The combat operation ended on Tuesday with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announcing that six terrorists were killed. Seven security personnel, including an officer of the National Security Guards (NSG), were killed in the attack.

Parrikar admitted to “gaps” which led to “security lapses” at the air base.

The role of the Punjab Police Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, who claimed he was abducted by the terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air base, was put under the scanner on Tuesday evening, as a team of NIA officials questioned him at his residence in Gurdaspur.

The SP will be questioned by NIA and Punjab Police officials on Wednesday also, along with his cook Madan Gopal and businessman friend Rajesh Verma.

All three alleged that they were abducted by the terrorists in his vehicle

The police superintendent, who was transferred from here last week only, had earlier 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.

Under fire and suspicion about the entire incident, Salwinder Singh told the media on Tuesday: “My information was 100 percent true. There is no doubt about it. I informed senior officers immediately. I don’t know why the delay took place.”

However, the investigators are looking at Salwinder’s claims with suspicions due to inconsistencies in claims of the SP and his two companions who were abducted.

The police officer has said his car was stopped around 11.30 p.m. on Thursday (December 31), while the attack began early on Saturday (January 2).

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