Pathankot Attack: Is SP Salwinder Singh a Witness or a Suspect?

SP Salwinder Singh’s role in the case can only be determined after he has been interrogated.

Updated
India
3 min read
Mystery still at large on SP Salwinder Singh. (Photo altered by <b>The Quint</b>)

Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh, who was examined by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday in New Delhi, continues to be in the radar of suspicion. The investigating agency will question him again on Tuesday. The NIA has also summoned Singh’s cook Madan Gopal to Delhi for questioning.

When asked about Singh’s status in the case, the NIA chief said:

Salwinder Singh is neither a witness nor a suspect in the case. His status will be decided after interrogation.

Sarad Kumar, Chief, NIA

According to sources in the NIA, Singh’s cook has been summoned so that investigators can collate and cross-check the information provided by Singh. The agency can also question them together.

These are the questions which the NIA has possibly asked Singh:

  • Why did the SP visit the shrine that night, especially since he wasn’t a frequent visitor?Why was he travelling in his official car? How did the militants not fathom that he was a cop, even after seeing the beacon on his car?
  • Why were his cook and he spared?
  • Why was there a time gap between his release, and informing the police control room about the terrorists?
  • Why did his seniors not trust him when he raised the alarm about the militants?
  • How many phones was he carrying?
  • The Gurdaspur SP is allegedly close to Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur’s brother Bikram Singh Majithia. Majithia is facing inquiry on drug trafficking charges. NIA is also investigating whether Salwinder was duped into assisting the militants under the garb of drug trafficking.
  • Details on how those militants looked like and the kind and quantity of weapons/ammunition they were carrying.
  • What conversation took place between Singh and militants?

Apart from Singh, his cook and his jeweller friend, the NIA team is questioning several other witnesses in Pathankot, including Air force officers in the air base. While conducting searches in the air base, the investigators found a mobile phone, a AK-47 magazine and a binocular.

According to sources, discrepancies in Singh’s statement to the Punjab Police and NIA is raising several questions. That’s the reason why investigators are keen on conducting a polygraph test. To conduct this test, the investigators would need his consent. Singh’s lack of integrity among his men in Punjab police is yet another reason for the investigators to doubt his role.

Black Corner Notice on Four Dead Militants

Earlier, a bullet shell that was found at Dhaki Chowk market in Pathankot on 2 January 2016. (Photo: IANS)
Earlier, a bullet shell that was found at Dhaki Chowk market in Pathankot on 2 January 2016. (Photo: IANS)

On Monday, the Interpol issued a Black Corner notice to seek information on the identity of the four terrorists, whose bodies were recovered at the air base. The other two bodies were completely incinerated in the bombing, and only some remains were found.

The Black Corner Notice can help investigators get more information about the dead terrorists. It will also assist in tracing their place of origin. Photos and their DNA samples have been sent out, along with notices.

Unfortunately, we are not yet confident of the names of the six militants. Black Corner is essential to collect enough evidence to establish their link with a particular militant outfit and place.

Senior official, IB

Indian authority has evidence to establish link between these militants and the Headquarter of Jaish-e-Muhammad in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. India has already shared the names of three handlers, who were allegedly located in Bahawalpur during the attack.

Sources say that investigators are also likely to send a Letter Rogatory to Pakistan along with the phone numbers, names of the handlers and DNA samples of the terrorists.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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