Handlers were close to the border: NIA

National Investigation Agency teams have been despatched to border villages to collect possible evidence left behind by terrorists

January 14, 2016 03:08 am | Updated November 17, 2021 03:14 am IST - New Delhi:

Securitymen stand outside the IAF base in Pathankot. File Photo.

Securitymen stand outside the IAF base in Pathankot. File Photo.

The Pathankot terrorists walked 1.5 kilometres after abandoning the SUV belonging to police officer Salwinder Singh before they entered the Indian Air Force base by scaling a wall, not far from the main gate, shows a re-enactment of the sequence of events by the National Investigation Agency.

A senior government official told The Hindu that when the terrorists crossed over to India through a riverine stretch, they were probably dressed in civvies and must have changed into Army fatigues. Teams of NIA have been dispatched to all the border villages near the airbase to recover the clothes and any related evidence.

The NIA also suspects that when the terrorists crossed over to India through the riverine stretch in the Bamiyal sector, they were in touch with their handlers through a Chinese-made wireless set. Since the frequency of these sets is generally only along the line of sight, the NIA believes the handlers must have positioned themselves somewhere close to the border.

“They [the terrorists] took internal roads of the villages to approach the Pathankot airbase. They abandoned the police officer’s vehicle and went on foot for 1.5 km with heavy arms and ammunition,” said the official.

The call logs of the wireless set have been deleted and it was recovered from former Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh’s SUV, an NIA official said. A wireless set of the same make was also recovered from Rajbagh police station in Kathua district of Jammu on March 20 last year, when two heavily armed terrorists in Army uniform stormed the police station on the Jammu-Pathankote highway killing five people, before they were gunned down.

“The wireless set is being sent to CFSL/NTRO for retrieving the deleted data. The recovered wireless set is similar to a wireless recovered from the site of attack in Samba, Jammu & Kashmir last year,” said an NIA statement.

The statement also said, “The route taken by terrorists from the point of abduction of SP Punjab and to the Air Force Base on December 31st – January 1st, 2016 has been ascertained.”

The NIA teams are collecting CCTV footage on the route taken by terrorists to Air Force Base, an official said.

“NIA teams with Punjab police and local villagers are carrying out searches in the nearby villages on the route taken by the terrorists for evidence left behind by terrorists like clothes, electronic devices,” the NIA said.

Mr. Singh was questioned for the third consecutive day Wednesday. His cook Madan Gopal and Baba of the Mazaar, which he visited before his abduction by the terrorists are being summoned to NIA HQ, Delhi on Thursday for examination.

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