New Delhi: NIA today registered a case to probe the conspiracy of Pakistan-based terrorist group, believed to be Jaish-e-Mohammed, behind the strike at the IAF base in Pathankot in Punjab. The case was initially registered by local police station in Pathankot that was transferred and handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a central probe agency that was set up after the audacious 26/11 Mumbai terror strike to probe all terror cases in the country.
The NIA registered the case under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Arms Act against unknown persons, official sources said. A team of NIA was at the spot since Saturday as per the standard operating procedure under which the agency rushes its team to the terror attack site so that they can share their expertise as well as have first-hand information about the case.
The NIA will take over the evidence and custody of the bodies of terrorists once the Army and NSG give clearance that the Pathankot operation is over, the sources said. The mandate of the NIA probe will include entry of the militants into India, killing of taxi driver Ikagar Singh, kidnapping of Superintendent of Police-rank officer of Punjab Police, who was later released and entry into the IAF campus, the sources said.
SP Salwinder Singh, who was shunted out from Gurdaspur to take charge as Assistant Commandant of 75th battalion of Punjab Armed Police, is likely to be questioned about the terrorists who had hijacked his vehicle. He is already facing charges of alleged breach of discipline.
The sources said the investigators will also try and ascertain the conspiracy that was hatched on Pakistani soil by the terrorists and if possible find out the state and non-state actors in that country.
The NIA may also question or seek custodial interrogation of sacked IAF personnel Ranjith KK, a Leading Air Craftman (LAC) with IAF posted at Bhatinda, who was arrested by Delhi Police for allegedly supplying information to ISI, the sources said.
The Pathankot IAF facility, located near the border with Pakistan, is the base of MiG-21 fighter planes and MI-25 attack helicopters of Air Force. India recently gifted four such choppers to Afghanistan last month.