The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is now preparing to seek Pakistan’s help in identifying the six terrorists who stormed the IAF base in Pathankot on Saturday. NIA DG Sharad Kumar on Tuesday said that intercepts of phone calls made to Pakistan by the now slain terrorists were primary evidence against them and their handlers, and that India will ask Islamabad to provide voice samples of persons the terrorists spoke to.
“Once we identify the people the terrorists spoke to — and this includes one of the terrorist’s mother — we will ask Pakistan to give us their voice samples so that it can be matched with the intercepts,” NIA Director General Sharad Kumar said.
He added that the agency was already taking help of forensic experts and will collect DNA samples from the site, and from the bodies of the slain terrorists. “We will send these samples to Pakistan to match with the families of the terrorists,” said Kumar.
The terrorists had made several calls from the mobile phone of Punjab SP Salwinder Singh to places in Pakistan, including Bahawalpur where they spoke to their handlers as well as family members, sources said.
Kumar said the agency will also question the SP over the terrorists letting him off. “It looks murky, but it will be unfair to pass any judgement until we question him,” he said.
Sources said the agency, at a later stage, may also send letters rogatory for evidence against handlers of the terrorists.
About the nationality of the terrorists involved in the attack, Kumar said there was little doubt that the accused were from Pakistan and added “whatever evidence that is available to us till now is based on intercepted calls between the terrorists and their handlers and family across the border”.
He, however, refrained from naming the terror group responsible for the attack. “Let us work first. We will be able to establish everything once we have some evidence,” he said.
Intelligence agencies have indicated that Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed were behind the attack. Kumar refused to confirm if Pakistan’s external spy agency ISI had a role to play in the incident.