gets curiouser: Local leader, 3 handlers, SP’s ‘changing’ tale

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member

Controversial SP Salwinder Singh and his two companions reportedly met a prominent politician of Gurdaspur district the night they were 'kidnapped' by terrorists, before the Pathankot air base attack, near Bamyal village.
This came to the fore during investigation by the National Investigation Agency and Punjab Police. Sources said the agencies had been tracking the movement of the politician prior to the Pathankot attack.
Investigators have obtained vital leads on the police-politician-smuggler nexus in the region. They say this nexus ought to have come to light after the July 27, 2015, Dinanagar attack.
The investigators believe that the terrorists were guided by three local handlers, with one of them well-acquainted with the layout of the Pathankot air base, including its key installations.
An official said three groups worked in tandem to launch the attack — two comprised terrorist outfits and the third consisted of the three local handlers. Sources said it was being probed if these handlers had any connection with the Gurdaspur politician or taxi driver Ikaagar Singh, who was found murdered.
The officials are now interrogating Salwinder Singh and his cook Mohan Gopal. The two had on day one given similar statements but contradictions emerged when they were cross-questioned. Salwinder claimed in the FIR that they were tied up and gagged by terrorists before being thrown into a ditch.
He claimed he gained consciousness after more than two hours, untied himself and then helped his cook. However, his jeweller friend had a different tale to tell. When told they had thrown a police officer out of the vehicle, the terrorists turned back, but could not find the SP and his cook at the spot, he claimed.
The SP, in subsequent interviews, corroborated the jeweller’s claim. He said the terrorists had indeed returned to kill him but he had fled by then. Whereas the SP was initially quoted as saying that the terrorists had used his phone to make calls, the jeweller claimed it was his phone that the terrorists had used as they could not crack the SP’s phone code. The SP has stated in the FIR that the terrorists took away his two phones, one of them an iPhone.
Police sources said till late afternoon on January 1, the SP was seen as a suspect in the murder of driver Ikaagar Singh. But this changed after phone intercepts pointed to the presence of infiltrators in the area. This explains the delay in the filing of two FIRs, one regarding the SP's kidnapping and the other on Ikaagar's killing. The police are not sure if Ikaagar was killed by terrorists. The post-mortem report suggests he put up a stiff resistance.