THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Pathankot terror attack, has submitted a list of 39 prosecution witnesses. Although the name of Suprintendent of Police Salwinder Singh of Punjab Police has not been included, the agency will make him a witness in the case and put his name on the preserved list, which is likely to be produced in court during the next hearing of the case on May 2.
The court has also summoned an officer of the rank of flight lieutenant posted at the Pathankot airbase to record his statement during the next hearing. NIA officials also told the court that it would submit another list of witnesses during the next hearing. It would include the names of some officers from USA who helped NIA crack the GPS devices used by the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, who allegedly came from Pakistan.
“We have submitted the list and told the court that we want to examine all the witnesses. We have a preserved list of some of the witnesses which we will submit in the coming days. We have also filed an application to seek permission to examine the witnesses,” said an NIA officer.
The list of 39 witnesses also includes officers of the Pathankot airbase. The name of Salwinder Singh, who was questioned by NIA after the attack as he was abducted on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 by terrorists and his official vehicle was used by them to reach the Pathankot airbase, is likely to be submitted by the agency through another list along with some officers of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The NIA has also filed an application in court, saying it wants the trial to begin under Section 299 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which means that if it is proved that an accused person has absconded and that there is no immediate prospect of arresting him, the court is competent to try or commit for trial such person for the offence in his absence, examine the witnesses (if any) produced on behalf of the prosecution and record their depositions and any such deposition may, on the arrest of such person, be given in evidence against him on the inquiry into, or trial for, the offence he is charged with.
The court has already declared the alleged mastermind of the terror attack and JeM chief, Azhar Masood, his brother Abdul Rauf Asgar, Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan as proclaimed offenders during the last hearing of the case on March 9.