NIA summons caretaker of shrine SP claimed to have visited before terror attack

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016,16:11 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | NIA today summoned the caretaker of a shrine in Punjab which an SP rank officer had claimed to have visited before being kidnapped by terrorists who attacked the Pathankot Air Force base hours later. The NIA summoned Somraj, the caretaker of Panj Peer Dargah located a few kilometres from Bamiyal, the village from where the terrorists were suspected to have infiltrated India before mounting the attack, official sources said. Somraj’s statement that Salwinder Singh, a Superintendent of Police rank officer, had came to the shrine for the first time before the attack and that his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and his cook Madan Gopal had visited the dargah twice the same day had raised eyebrows as the police officer has claimed he was a regular visitor.

Singh, who is being quizzed for second successive day today at the NIA headquarters, continued to face tough questions from from interrogators who have been asking him about various loop-holes in his statement given to Punjab Police wherein he had claimed he had been blindfolded by the terrorists who spoke in Hindi, Urdu and Kashmiri languages. The NIA has already summoned Madan Gopal to its headquarters tomorrow for questioning. Sources said, if needed, he will be brought face to face with Singh, posted as Assistant Commandant of 75th battalion of Punjab Armed Police after he was removed as SP (headquarters) Gurdaspur.

NIA sources have not ruled out subjecting him to a lie detector test after seeking his and court’s nod. The terror probe agency has sent his mobile phone to Central Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its ownership and calls made from it possibly by the terrorists involved in the 80-hour gun battle with security forces. The central agency had launched investigation immediately after terrorists struck inside the IAF base on the intervening night of January 1 and 2. NIA also recovered a magazine with seven live bullets from the scene of encounter at the IAF base today. A 10-member NIA team involved in the search operations has already recovered an AK-47 magazine, mobile phone and binoculars, sources said said.

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