In a twist to the Pathankot terror attack investigation, the footwear impressions — with a Pakistan firm’s marking — found near the border have not matched with the boots that the terrorists were wearing. Only one boot print, found inside the IAF base, matched with the shoe belonging to a slain terrorist. The forensic analysis was seen as crucial to cracking the mystery behind the route taken by terrorists to enter India. The boot prints found near the border belonged to Epcot shoes, a leading shoe manufacturer in Pakistan.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case, had lifted six boot prints from a six-km stretch near the Bamial village along the India-Pakistan border.
One boot print was lifted from near the perimeter wall inside the IAF base. All these were sent to forensic science laboratory to be matched against the footwear found on the bodies of the slain terrorists.
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“None of the boot prints found near the border have matched with those of the terrorists. Only one boot print, of Sardar shoe brand, found inside the IAF base has matched with that of the terrorists,” said an NIA investigator. He said the boot print inside the airbase was left after a terrorist jumped over the fence and landed on soft earth, while others landed on grass.
The discovery of impressions of Pak-made footwear near the border had led to the suspicion that they belonged to terrorists and that this was the route taken by them.
“It is possible that the boot prints belonged to smugglers or to villagers who had acquired Pakistani boots. It’s not very uncommon in that area as many locals are involved in drug smuggling and regularly trade with people from Pakistan,” said another investigator.
Interestingly, the BSF has maintained that after detailed investigation it found no evidence of terrorists entering India from the Punjab border. It has said that neither did it find a breach in the border fencing nor any instance of infiltration was caught on camera.
NIA investigators, however, claim that there is considerable circumstantial evidence — including murder of driver Ikagar Singh and kidnapping of Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh — to show that terrorists crossed over from the Punjab border.