Samba Spy Scandal


By the end of October, I was given another letter from my wife. In the letter she'd written that she would go to the Defence Minister to seek permission for meeting me, but would do so after she had received the reply.

`Tell her not to do so. It's futile for her to run around. No one can do anything in espionage cases; not the Defence Minister, nor the Chief. They can do fuck all. In fact the President of India also can't do anything. So, write to your wife accordingly not to think of such things, and when the time comes you would do everything yourself. Okay?' said Jolly, `It is only we, who can help you no one else.'

How correct Jolly was when he had said that! I had to see the truth of the statement, when my wife had to run from pillar to post and ultimately was forced to go to the Defence Minister, Shri Jagjivan Ram, and write to scores of other personalities, whether they were able to do anything or not. And it remained a fact that not even a leaf stirred when the storm passed.

The interrogators definitely could help, but only in the event if I agreed to become their approver. And I, as per my plan had agreed, while I lay in wait for the opportunity, to strike back.

On 22 October 1978, prior to the above incident, I was carried to the interrogation room. There, after my blindfold was removed, I found Naik Jagdish, one of my erstwhile subordinates, standing in a pretty bad condition. Who gave his name I wondered to myself? Then I realised quickly, that I was not the only hero, to incriminate innocents. Those who were my victims could also become heroes like me. And heros they not only could, but in fact, had become; ready to sacrifice anyone just on the mere sign of a raised ruler.

Seeing Naik Jagdish, I forgot about my miseries. I heard the interrogators who were asking Jagdish, did you or did you not go to Pakistan? Jagdish was still blindfolded and handcuffed. And he was shivering like a soldier, caught without clothing in a snow storm, while out on a patrol. He said, `No I did not, no, sir, no. Why should have I gone to Pakistan? What for?'

Thereafter Jagdish's blind fold was removed, and he was asked if he knew me, whom of course the wretch had to recognise.

I was stunned to learn that the hero who involved Jagdish was none else than myself. When and how I did that, I failed to recollect. And disgusted, I tried to remember, how many more such persons had I involved, which I don't remember? But it was a difficult question for me, to answer. The story was obviously signed by me when I was semi-conscious.

The `duo', Jolly and Chaudhary, told Jagdish to look at my mutilated body and then warned him, `if we can do this to an officer, it is left to your imagination, what can happen to you.'

Jagdish still held the ground. Then the duo asked me to persuade him. However, instead of persuading, I claimed myself as innocent.

The Duo laughed derisively first and then started beating me and also Jagdish, while they muttered, we thought you were on the right track.

My nose started bleeding, and I cursed my emotions for not sticking to my plan; for showing my innocence, an innocence which I had tried to show a number of times before. I saw Jagdish also, squirming under the torture. So quickly retracing my steps, I apologised for my wrong conduct!

I said, I would take over Jagdish provided they left us alone but the interrogators refused. They said, `You better take over only in our presence.' I thought for a while, then suddenly got up, limping on one leg and with my back towards the interrogators. Then looking at him, I winked frantically while telling him, `Jagdish it is no use getting yourself mauled. You're seeing my condition, and you have seen what's happened just now.... look at my body... I can't even stand, and see my nose which is still bleeding...'

The message that I wanted to convey had probably, gone home. I again winked and said, `If you don't remember, don't worry they will remind you... or even I will dictate to you.' And then I took the story, made for Jagdish, from the interrogators and proceeded to dictate.....'

I was given a pat by the interrogators and carried back to the cell. In the cell I wept and wept to see the degradation of my conscience. What could I do? Except taking consolation from me fact that by doing so I had saved Jagdish further tortures.

The `Duo' entered the cell, and expressed their annoyance. They asked me, `Why did you have to behave the way you did? It's not even the beginning. You have yet to face them during the trials. And if you don't change your attitude, then I am afraid', said Jolly, `You're inviting a disaster for yourself!.... and why the hell did you wink at him?'

So the trick was caught, I thought. But I tried to cover it up by expressing surprise, `Winked? Winked at whom?... May be what you saw, was involuntary reflexes of my eyes, as....'

`Now don't try to fool us,' interrupted Jolly and added, `whatever the reason, we couldn't care less. We only want that you should try and become like a man, and then stand on your own feet.' Then they left.

The new entrants were better placed in regard to the torture. The doctor who was introduced into the slaughter house, had laid a restraint on the degree of infliction of the tortures, and had also probably warned the interrogators for any untoward happening. With the result, the vultures were restrained from going beyond the first technique of the thirty six. Even if at times they crossed the laid down limits, the doctor would not allow to do that, since he visited me twice, daily. Consequently, the factory that produced spies faced recession. So to boost up the production they had turned to utilise, my expert services. Nevertheless the influx of raw material kept on pouring in unabated. The real reason of the doctor laying down restraint was not out of compassion, but of fear as Havildar Ram Sarup, I learnt later, was killed due to tortures on the last day of Sept. 1978. And this was probably the reason why my life was spared.

It was November, 3rd, when I found myself confronted by Captain Rana, who as per the concoction, had reached up the border, but was adamant not to proceed any further. The story that I was made to concoct for Rana was -

".... After I rejoined from leave, I met Captain Rana, who had come to Samba, as my relief. On 10 January, 1976, at about 1800 hours I met Rana in the Mess while he was taking whiskey. He was alone. I told him that a source was to come and that I was required to meet the source on the border. So I asked Rana to come with me. He agreed.

I thereafter went to the MT garage on my scooter and asked Rana to meet me at the crossing near the Brigade offices area. When I came in the jeep, Rana was waiting for me at the crossing.

We reached SM Pur post via Ramgarh. At the post we parked the jeep and went to the border, to meet the source. I was carrying four files of top secret nature. On arriving at the rendezvous, I asked Rana to wait there while I went ahead, wondering why the source had not come. I slipped across to Pakistan Post Kandral; informed the post commander about the location of Rana, who sent a few rangers to apprehend him. Thereafter I contacted Major Khan on the telephone at Sialkot.

After sometime I found Rana on the post sorrounded by the rangers. Rana was worried but I consoled him. After an hour, one JCO of the FIU came and told us that since he was sick, Khan had sent him to pick us up.

Rana was reluctant, but I persuaded him. We reached Sialkot and, I introduced Rana to Major Khan. We were entertained with drinks and then provided with a company of charming girls. The girls whom we enjoyed, were extremely charming and beautiful, like I had never seen before.

I apprised Major Khan about my posting. He showed his unhappiness but was relieved to find Rana as my relief. We were photographed and Rana was made to sign a contract form. Then we were briefed separately. Rana was paid Rs. 5000/- and Rs. 3000/- was paid to me. We left for Kandral post. From the post we crossed back theborder, came to out own post SM Pur and in the jeep reached Samba." And there after the story continued. It read that I again went with Rana to Pakistan in June 1977.

Looking at the story, which was hatched, suggested and dictated to me, appears to be absolutely correct, but only to a laymen and not to a person who has got detective reasoning. Such a person would simply dub it as false and throw it in the dustbin. But how could the initiators of such stories and the likes have done that? Would an examiner who'd set his own questions and then answered, himself, fail his own creation?

To start with, no officer goes to the Mess before 7:30 P.M, but Rana went and that too alone and he was drinking whiskey even before six P.M! Then Rana, who was in the Mess dress, went to the border without even caring to change his dress? He neither questioned, where the jeep driver was, nor did he care to question about the four files that were alleged to be of TOP SECRET nature! The BSF personnel at the BOP are always informed through their battalion Hqs, about anyone who wishes to go to any BOP.

This practice is followed very strictly especially when the intended visit is at night.

Then at the BOP, the visitor is not allowed to walk towards the border in the first instance,but presuming meeting the source was an important work, the visitors are not allowed alone. They are accompanied by a protection party. But as per the above story nothing of the legal necessities was followed, and nor were there any objections raised by the people concerned. These were some of the points which would have struck an expert eye, before even checking the other detailed in the story :

On the night of 10/11 January `76, Major Manocha, the signal officer, and I were dined out. The party, in the officer's mess, had dragged till late night. If I was being dined out that night then, how could I have gone across to Pakistan with Rana? Then the Pakistan Post KANDRAL where I had taken Rana, was an INDIAN BORDER OUT POST, and not of Pakistan. In fact there was no BOP or any other post called KANDRAL in Pakistan!

If my interrogators were clever, I had also left no stone unturned to defeat them at their own game. Apart from my first alleged visit, when I was supposed to have been deceived by Nagial across to Pakistan's GANDIAL BOP, I had shown having gone to Pakistan during my subsequent visits to KANDRAL POST. I knew and as such had mentioned the name of Kandral Post not only in my statement, but also in the stories I concocted for each and everybody. And since there was no one to check and find the truth of the various facts as written on the confessional statement and stories cooked for others, the Kandral Post was taken for granted to be in Pakistan! And when the stories were fed to the victims under the brutal torture, they wrote whatever was dictated to them. And when they, in turn were tortured to disclose their accomplices, they apparently followed the venue of meeting Major Khan of the FIU, at KANDRAL Post itself!.

In fact to concoct a story for anyone was the easiest thing. The only thing one required, was, the names of the victims; the rest of everything was decided; a jeep to travel, the route which was always via Bajpur and Ramgarh, then a Pakistan Post to meet FIU persons and that was KANDRAL and then of course the FIU officer who doled out huge sums of money to the Indian army officers and Jawans, offered them beautiful and sultry begums and finally made them sign contract forms. Then the ceremony was followed by the usual fanfare of a photography session. And at the end, the legendary Major Khan asked the victim to bring new person on the next visit! And needless to say, there never was a dearth of new persons!

That was a set pattern of obtaining false confessions and cooking further stories!

Surprisingly there was not a single person either in the military intelligence or in the Adjutant General's Branch, who utilised his brains. It's shocking for anyone to know that even the Chief failed to see before ordering arrest en masse, that Kandral Post as referred to in the statements was not a Pakistani post. Can there be anything more ludicrous than that? It amounted to surrender of our own post without any hesitation to Pakistan. Did it not mean to accept without any claim from the other side, that Kandral is not Indian Post but yours.

What could be more ridiculous than the lack of knowledge about this fact, by the guardian of the Indian territory; the Generals of the Indian Army? For, if the authorities concerned, knew about this fact then they had no business to sanction the arrest. They should have been taken the profligates to task. And to say, that they did not know, could they have not checked this fact from the formation concerned, or better still, from the maps they always hung in the operation rooms? Yes they could have! But here the fact was that everyone had got carried away by the wave of spies! No one thought it proper to check the circumstances disclosed by the so called spies. Alas! If only this had been done. But that was not to be.

If such glaring mistakes were made while going through the confessions, then minor facts, such as: that an officer who has only two days to hand over the charge before proceeding on a posting out, would not have the time to go to the border even during the daytime let alone at night. As it is a common military tradition and custom for the officer to be invited for meals not only in the officers' mess, but by his colleagues, senior and subordinates at their individual houses. And as such, I was the busiest person during these two days attending such dinners and lunches. Thus under the circumstances, even if I wanted to take Rana to Pakistan, I could not have done so, practically!

As has been already said, there was no one to bother about these facts. Everyone, it seemed was carried away by an enthusiasm of breaking the biggest spy ring that was ever unearthed in the history of espionage!

The entire said episode would be a matter of bitterness and a sad analysis for the future historians. A matter of shameful deed, an unworthy act of the worthy name of the Indian Armed Forces, a sad take to be recounted by future generations. It may provide a lesson for them, but a costly one at that! It would be a lesson on the graves of innocent and loyal officers and men of the Indian Army!

I heard Capt Rana recounting the contents of the above story. But, he would not cross the border. Once again I found myself drifting into a situation similar to the one at the time of Naik Jagdish's confrontation, and was once again brought down to earth by the duo. Seeing Rana being beaten mercilessly, I pleaded and asked the interrogators, `Please stop that.... I would see to that, he agrees.' I turned to Rana.

It's futile Rana. No one is prepared to listen to your innocence. Look at me,' saying this I showed my scarred body, `I have achieved this in trying to prove my innocence. Rana look! This is a slaughter house, where any live stock does not go back alive - It's either killed and if not then it would die of a disease.' While telling this, I tried to give ample hints to Rana about my innocence. Of course, I dared not wink, lest I was caught. Then I thought quickly of a way for putting across to Rana about my innocence and that I had no hand in whatever was happening. I said, `Do you believe in God, Rana?'


`Do you believe in truth?'

`Yes, I do.'

`Then Rana you know the truth as much as I do.... and then truth is, I did not take you even to the border. However since you've already come up to it,..... then without a second thought proceed further.' It was conveyed in such a way that the interrogators thought, I was taunting Rana and at the same time I had conveyed what I wanted.

I looked at Rana and assured him while Rana was looking at me in a disgusting helplessness, `I have tried everything to resist, so much that no one can imagine. Yet I could do nothing except reaching where I have at the rock bottom of my morality. But that is it! I could not help!' Then I added, `You know these people say, they have collected all the evidence against us; including our photographs!... But never mind, and start writing..'

Rana was given the clip board and the papers. I dictated to Rana. But once I had reached the border, Rana again became adamant. `Rathaur, you know I told you not to go ahead and you had agreed. So we had come back...'

Rana was not allowed to complete the sentence. The interrogators began pounding him with chappals, rulers and even their hands!

`Okay, you are beating me and forcing me to accept a false story under brutal torture. I'll write whatever you want but I am going to reveal this in the court that...'

`Yes. You traitor tel them whatever you want. If you so wish we will corroborate your statement. We will say we have tortured you; now you proceed,' said Jolly mockingly.

Thereafter without a single question or objection the confession was written by Rana and signed. The date was 03 November 1978.

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 |