Quint Exclusive: Border Drug Mafia Paid Gurdaspur SP in Diamonds
The Quint Exclusive: SP Salwinder was paid in diamonds for helping drug runners cross the border.
The National Investigation Agency probing the Pathankot terror attack continues to desist from arresting Gurdaspur (Headquarter) Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh for his suspicious activities the night the terrorists crossed into Indian territory. It has now come to light that he would be paid in diamonds for “helping” the cross-border drugs mafia to smuggle in narcotics.
- Interrogations reveal Gurdaspur SP would be remunerated in diamonds for allowing drugs to enter Punjab.
- His jeweller friend would verify quality of diamonds paid to Salwinder Singh.
- NIA to ascertain if Salwinder and Verma’s presence very close to the border on 31 Dec was to facilitate the smuggling in of drugs or precious stones.
- The SP is said to be close to at least one Akali Dal leader, Sucha Singh Langah, a former minister for public works and agriculture.
This was revealed in the course of the interrogation of the SP and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma, who is a resident of Gurdaspur and runs a jewellery store in Gali Khazanchian in Gurdaspur’s market.
Both Salwinder and Verma are believed to have disclosed that diamonds or other precious stones would be paid whenever large consignments of drugs would need the presence of the SP at specific border points for them to be pushed in.
This explains Verma’s unusual visit to the Peer Baba mazaar in Taloor village under Narot Jaimal Singh police station twice in a span of 12 hours. Verma first visited the shrine around 8:30 am on 31 December along with the SP’s cook Madan Gopal, followed by a second visit, this time with Salwinder Singh, around 9 pm.
Modus Operandi Revealed
Salwinder would “facilitate” the entry of these consignments along the border in Gurdaspur and Pathankot sectors where he wielded enough clout to play this clandestine role with the convenient cover of an SP. NIA investigators are piecing together details to ascertain whether Salwinder and Verma’s presence very close to the border on 31 December was to facilitate the smuggling in of a large khep (consignment) of drugs and whether precious stones were to be handed over that night.
It could be that the Taloor mazaar was being used by the drugs traffickers as an inconspicuous place for their clandestine activities and that Verma visited the site to receive a message.
National Security and Political Implications
The NIA has maintained a stony silence over its investigations so far into the Pathankot attack and the activities of the SP the night the terrorists crossed over from an unfenced section of the border in Pathankot. This is because of the huge national security as well as political implications of the SP’s suspected involvement in cross-border drug-running or connivance with Punjab’s drug cartel.
Verma’s Facebook account says that his store is called Rajesh Jewellers, a “House of Hallmark Gold Certified Diamonds, Silver & Approved Gem Stones.” Verma’s association with Salwinder Singh grew after the police officer took up the assignment as SP (Headquarter) two years ago.
Jeweller Friend’s Role
He became a close confidant and was soon inducted into the nefarious cross-border trade of narcotics. The jeweller would verify the authenticity and purity of the diamonds/precious stones that would be paid by the mafia.
Officially, the NIA is loath to confirm that diamonds would be paid in exchange for facilitating drugs smuggling, but intelligence sources revealed that what has interested investigators is the extent of the drug trade and whether Salwinder Singh shared the spoils (diamonds) with others in the police hierarchy and Punjab politicians.
Connecting the Dots Via Bangkok
The SP is said to be close to at least one Akali Dal leader, Sucha Singh Langah, a former minister for public works and agriculture. Langah contested the 2012 assembly polls from Dera Baba Nanak constituency but lost. Police sources had earlier revealed that Salwinder Singh was at Langah’s farmhouse in Behrampur village which is very close to a riverine stretch of the Gurdaspur-Pathankot border.
Salwinder Singh is said to have revealed to the NIA interrogators that he was a frequent visitor to Bangkok, which was mostly to indulge in his weakness for pleasure. But sleuths are also trying to ascertain whether the Thai capital was the place to receive payments for his role as facilitator at the India-Pakistan border.
Why No Arrest?
Surprisingly, even as the NIA has questioned the SP for five consecutive days – and some more interrogation sessions are not being ruled out – under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the central agency has neither made any attempt to search his residence in Gurdaspur nor examine his property and bank documents.
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