Samba Spy Scandal

Annexure I

Ex Capt. R.S. Rathaur
Central jail No. 2 Tihar
Military Convict
New Delhi-110 064

05 February, 1987

Dear General,

Even though, I am confident that you must have already gone through the article on the Samba Case in Sunday Mail of January 18-24, 1987, its clippings are enclosed. After a good deal of thought and inner conflict. I have decided to write to you once again and to try to impress upon you the need for looking at this case afresh in the light of yet another revelation.

The mystery shrouding the creation of `Samba Spies' has begun to dissolve into a definite pattern. The picture that is emerging though, still hazy, is nevertheless clear in some of its contours. The reality cannot be suppressed for ever. it has a queer way of slipping to the surface. The indications of the truth of this case taking such a course can only be ignored at the peril of the army's ultimate prestige. If the eight long years and the might of the army have not been able to silence the remblings of the truth, it is unlikely that the continued indifference by the army's top brass towards the revelations which call for admission of a mistake would succeed in aborting its total anifestation in the future. But then the truth so revealed and coming as the negation of the forces which try to abort it today may want to avenge those who conspire and connive with the perpetuation of an untruth and the collateral sufferings of patriotic soldiers and their family members who have become its victims. The truth so revealed may blemish the conspirators of untruth as traitors to the eternity. It may also irrepairably damage an organisation which stands to protect the nation against its eternal enemies. I implore you, sir, therefore, to consider what is at stake!

This case directly impinges on the nation's security, integrity and unity. The enemy conspired and succeeded, through this case, in giving a fatal blow to the prestige of the army's entire officers corps and in causing demoralisation among them. Right from the beginning I cried foul. I got in return nothing but indifference and derision. However, independent investigations and analysis of the case especially by the press, have strengthened the plea of conspiracy put forward by me. While in Samba I was responsible for creating, setting up and operating an efficient apparatus for gathering information. The fact that I operated class `A' sources is borne out from the official records of the relevant period. It was admitted by even those who perpetrated this case. Today the very same people are found to have links with the extremists in Punjab.

Such movements, as is well known, take years of underground planning and activities before emerging on the surface. The latest revelation confirms that the Samba Spy case was a part of this subterranean preparation. The chief coordinator of this scandal Brig. T.S. Grewal is today publically accused of having links with extremist who are backed by Pakistan. It was under his directions that the main protagonists of the case - Aya Singh and Sarwan Dass - were hailed as patriots and retained in service. Today they have been declared as proclaimed offenders and anti India agents with active links with the terrorists in Punjab. A vicious nexus between the Protectors and the protected has been established. This in itself speaks volumes and goes to prove conclusively that the conspiracy was hatched by Pakistani Intelligence in collusion with its cohorts on the Indian side.

Had I been allowed to function at Samba for another six months or so, it was highly possible that this nexus would have been busted sooner or later. Since my manner of functioning and the damage my sources caused to the Pak interests was known to the extremists sympathisers and activities, they were afraid of their premature disclosure / exposure. Possibly at this point they started to conspire. As the first move I was quietly eased out from the post and replaced by another officer. It was in the beginning of 1976.

Meanwhile the two gunners were arrested and taken over by the army intelligence for interrogation in June / July 1975. And who "interrogated" them? Maj. Jolly and the party under the directions of the chief coordinator, Brig. T.S. Grewal! They may have presumed, then, that the threat of exposure had been everted with my posting out of Samba. So I was not implicated at that time. However, Rana, my successor too, picked up the momentum in his intelligence work, though starting late. At this the conspirators decided to cast their net to obliterate for ever the intelligence apparatus at Samba that threatened their exposure. It was thus that the belated patriotism of Aya Singh and Sarwan Dass was aroused after three years of being under arrest. Admittedly this character disclosed my name as his "accomplice" on 28 March 1978, three years after his own arrest and confession. Possibly I would have been spared. But they could not strike the intelligence without bringing me in, as Aya Singh was under arrest since June 1975 and my successor had taken over from me in January 1976. My involvement thus became a necessity for them (and this will also prove the undoing of their act). That provides answer: why Aya Singh implicated me after. THREE years of his arrest and confession, instead of earlier. The evidence was already manufactured. The victims were isolated and mercilessly tortured not for a day or a week but for months together and made to sign the confessions. In the process some even died. Perhaps the aim of the conspirators was to cause disaffection and dissension within its (the army's) ranks. Admittedly attempts were made to implicate even the senior generals. Had it not been for the press that exposed the scandal in April 1979, the damage this case could have caused is unthinkable.

The army having got rid of us through its kangaroo courts sat smug in the belief that the case had been safely concluded. the smugness was despite the warning and advice of the inquiry report jointly conducted by the IB and the RAW. It has since maintained absolute silence even in the face of mounting evidence against its justification of the case.

The false prestige has already cost the country dearly and given enough room to the conspirators for maneuvering. Had this case been pursued earnestly in the right direction following the report of the IB in 1979 itself, possibly the nation would not have had to hear of the sanctuaries provided to the extremists, today in Pakistan. The movement would have been traced and nipped in the bud. The damage, no doubt, has been very deep, yet it is still not too late to make amends and try to retrieve the losses, before it is really too late.

I assure you, sir, that in any other case I would have gladly suffered the victimisation. But I cannot do so under this stigma of being a traitor. The stigma simply chokes the foundation of my existence. Further the awareness of what is behind this national betrayal adds to my determination to continue my unequal fight.

I am not against the army as few think. The army is like a mother to me. I cannot, therefore, even conceive the idea to blasphemise it. On the contrary my struggle is directed to restore its honour and prestige that was destroyed when 52 of its officers were falsely accused of spying under a definite plan. It was the greatest dishonour that the army has suffered.

I, therefore, once again request you to consider in the light of the fresh revelations that are now in your notice, what is at stake and order a fresh investigation. Consider this, that I am not asking to be freed, for the freedom, after what I have undergone has lost its meaning for me. In any case I have already suffered the ignominy for the major portion of my sentence. Please consider the matter from the angle of national interest, in view of the fresh revelation which strongly point in favour of the action I have been praying for - to re-open the case. Such an action, irrespective of the outcome would go a long way in putting the army on the pedestal of esteem it rightly deserves.

I hope, at least this time, the General would take steps in the right direction.

Yours sincerely

(R.S. Rathaur)

General K. Sundarji, P.V.S.M.
Chief of Army Staff
New Delhi-110 011

Copies of the letter forwarded to -
1. Shri Rajiv Gandhi, The Prime Minister of India
2. Shri V.P. Singh, The Defence Minister of India
3. Shri Madhu Dandavate, M.P.
The Sunday Mail, 5, Ansari Road, New Delhi.

Preface | Temporary Duty | The Move Order | The Train Journey | The Reception | The Army HQ | Close Arrest | The Interrogation | Background | The Intelligence | The Security | The Devil | The Confession | The Foundation Stone | The Great Detectives | The Corroborations | An Approver | Confrontaions | Hibernations | Leading to the Trails | Fairy Tales | Into the Fire | Army Procedure | As a Winess | Meeting with Family | Habeas Corpus | Death of Democracy | The Trial | Prosecution Case | The Defence | The Press | Rebuttal | Aftermath | Mystery | Postscript | Annexure I | Home |