Pathankot, Jan 18: The Pathankot terror attack investigation has brought fresh speculations to the fore. The fact that Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh was abducted with his cook and a jeweller raised many eyebrows.
While people discuss in hushed tone what the SP was doing with a jeweller, probes now focus on the reason behind the booming jewellery shops in the district, which does not have any means of income.
Gold is used as a currency
Being a border town, investigators believe that there is a possibility that Gold is being used as a currency to collect drug consignments that are smuggled across the border in this area. Compared to cash, jewellery is easier to carry and exchange without raising any suspicion.
Jewellers, however, dismiss the speculation saying that Pathankot is a stopover for villagers in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and Chamba in Himachal Pradesh to buy jewellery. "Since these villagers do not have any significant jewellery market in their areas and Pathankot is within a distance of 25-30 km, they prefer coming here," said a leading jeweller. He further added, the profession has come down to many as a legacy.
Top cops have an answer
Explaining the economic stabilisation due to Gold prices, top cops said Punjab and Mumbai have been an easy gateway for jewellery smuggling. This economic condition led to drugs overshadowing jewellery. Another retired cop said,"Thanks to the riverine areas, smuggling of gold had become a convenient way to earn easy and quick money. As a result, several people came and settled in areas like Pathankot and Gurdaspur. And with drug smuggling turning out to be more lucrative, the same set of individuals became more active and seemingly organised."
However, when the investigators of the Pathankot attack were contacted, they refused to get any evidence of the involvement of a jeweller with an anti-social element.
Meanwhile, Former director-general of police (prisons), Punjab, Shashi Kant said,"It is certainly unusual that such a large number of jeweller shops exist in a place which is said to have sleeper cells. There certainly appears to be a clear nexus of people who dump the consignments for a cooling-off period."