Why Punjab SP’s version is being suspected?

By Jaideep Sarin

Pathankot (Punjab):  Is senior Punjab Police officer Salwinder Singh a suspect or a victim in the terrorist attack on the Pathankot air base?

Investigating agencies, especially the NIA, are probing the police officer’s role in the incident for over 24 hours before the actual terror attack took place on Saturday.

The inconsistencies in the statements of Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, his cook Madan Gopal and his jeweller-friend Rajesh Verma, regarding the same incident have made investigators curious. This has led to the SP being put under the scanner. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been questioning all three since Tuesday evening.

SP Salwinder Singh’s SUV was found abandoned. SP Salwinder Singh, his friend Rajesh Verma, a jeweller, and Verma’s cook Madan Gopal were in the police officer’s SUV when they were allegedly waylaid by a group of five armed men in Army fatigues on the Pathankot-Jammu highway.
SP Salwinder Singh’s SUV was found abandoned. SP Salwinder Singh, his friend Rajesh Verma, a jeweller, and Verma’s cook Madan Gopal were in the police officer’s SUV when they were allegedly waylaid by a group of five armed men in Army fatigues on the Pathankot-Jammu highway.

 

 

 

One of the discrepancies in their statements is regarding the number of terrorists. While Verma, who travelled the most distance with the terrorists, said there were four terrorists, the police officer and his cook said they were 4-5 terrorists.

Another inconsistency was about the terrorists hitting them with rifle butts. While Verma and the cook had bodily injuries, the SP had none. Also, the SP claimed that he could not hear much of what the terrorists were talking among themselves. Verma said they talked to their “commander” and addressed each other as “alpha” and “major”.

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The police officer, Salwinder Singh, is claiming that he and two others were stopped in his Mahindra XUV and abducted by 4-5 heavily armed terrorists near Kolian village on Dec 31 night around 11.30.

He claimed that he and the cook were dumped in a drain in a forest area by the terrorists after some distance, unharmed, but with their hands, legs and mouths tied. He said that both his mobile phones were taken away by the terrorists.

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The cook, Gopal, however, said that the police officer still had one phone with him with which he contacted his senior.

Th officer’s friend Rajesh Verma has claimed that the terrorists threw him in the boot of the multi-utility vehicle and drove towards the Pathankot air force base.

The questions being raised by investigators are:

Why was the SP travelling late in the night in the border belt? Why did he take that particular link road on the fateful night when, by his own admission, there was another road link to the shrine, where he claimed he had gone to offer prayers, in Kathua district of adjoining Jammu and Kashmir? He even claimed that he did not know anything about this ‘short-cut’ road.

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