The Devil Who Came Out Victorious
I narrated a few more similar incidents and said, `Those were my activities in detail, sir, while I served in Samba.' Then I looked up helpfully at the interrogators - wishfully thinking they would let me go.
`Who all were your good friends, and the colleagues, seniors and subordinates with whom you had close and cordial relations?' Asked KSS.
I recounted the names of all such persons adding, `In fact I had cordial relations with everyone.'
At that moment, the door opened. I saw major S.C. Jolly entering the room dramatically. Bending a little forward, slowly lifting and placing each step in turn, hands swinging like the motion of leaves and shouting, `liar! liar!! liar!!!. The bastard is a liar. Gentlemen, whatever he told you is a complete lie.'
The happiness which had flashed in me on seeing Jolly disappeared like lightning behind clouds, when I heard that everything had come to a standstill. I watched the scene helplessly like a stranger in a strange land. I found myself looking at Major Jolly and through him, to our sweet association of the past; marvelling at the changed attitude of this officer whom I always adored.
`Look you bastard, you have been fooling these innocent police officers fot the past number of days. But you can't fool me.... your Pop, Pop who has known for complete two years.' Jolly shouted at me.
Listening to Jolly, for a few seconds, I was competely dumb. And when I spoke, I felt my words coming from a far off place. I said, `Jolly, sir tell me, have you gone out of your senses? Whatever shit you're talking from which it appears you have you're saying this!.... this to me? To me whom you always loved and liked. And more so when you know me, know my morality and my dedication to the work which you have admitted so many times and that too before the senior officers?' I stopped for a pause and, looking into Jolly's eyes, added, `It's terrible. Terrible to listen to this rubbish from your mouth.'
`Shut up you traitor,' shouted Jolly and added, `Yes I know you, I know bastards like you. I have to know, otherwise how can they be brought to book?... if you think you've a little sense and if you love your life, then blurt out the dirt.'
In my derelict and precarious condition, I found a surge of bitterness and anger overpowering me. When I spoke, I spoke with charged emotions. `Don't fuckin' well call me a traitor. Understand? And now, speak what? I'm fed up with listening to this speak out, speak out, speak of what, when I've spoken out my heart. Now listen you all, and carefully. I have nothing to....'
I was cut short with a slap with chappal on my face by Jolly, my best friend! I felt a stabbing pain for a moment and thereafter, I could not remember anything as I slumped to the ground, unconscious.
I remained senseless for hours on end. When revived I felt excruciating pain tearing my mind apart. I remembered the behaviour of Jolly with remorse. Ìncredible', I uttered to myself. Then, slowly I opened my eyes and inspected the surroundings. I found the door of the cell was open and the iron bars shutter was pulled on the door. At least some fresh air, I thought.
I saw a sentry standing in the gallery looking at me with a kind of pity in his eyes. Then suddenly, I felt terribly thirsty. `Can I have a glass of water?, `I pleaded in my weak voice to the sentry. The sentry kept his finger on his lips, an indication to remain quiet. Then, slowly he moved away and brought a glass of water, hidden in his pouch. Looking nervously for any sign of danger, yet with a desire to help me, the sentry slid the glass quickly through rectangled space of the iron shutter. In the process, half of the water spilled out. I quickly grabbed the glass and gulped the water down in half a breath. Then licking my dry lips with the tongue, I looked at the sentry with imploring looks for some more water. `I shall bring more, a little later,' the sentry coughed to assure himself that nothing had happened, stood erect, then winked at me giving an indication of the approaching danger and telling me in a whisper to keep lying and pose as unconscious. While telling this the sentry looked at the ceiling. At that moment, I heard the voice of Chotte Sahib asking the sentry. `Has he come to his senses?'.... Then a voice came from closeby - the jingling of the shutter. The Chotte Sahib entered the door and said, `My God! It's killing!!' These remarks were a reference to the foul smell permeating the air from a source, the unwashed, unwashed, with thick coat of sweat mixed in blood resulting from nose bleeding and other small wounds - my skeleton. The Chotte Sahib took my wrist in his hand to feel the pulse. Then, he placed one of his hands on my burning head. The placing of his hand by Chotte Sahib gave lot of relief to me. But I remained unmoved, pretending unconsciousness.
I heard Chotte Sahib saying, `The bastard is hell of a tough guy. After so much torture and beating, he's not given in. But anyway how long can he stand up to this..... Well let me try.' I found my body being shaken by Chotte Sahib who was asking me to get up. And then he gave up.
I was in my senses. But I pretended successfully to be out of senses. So, the Chotte Sahib, instructing the sentry to awaken him when I was revived, left. After about fifteen minutes, the sentry gave me a tumbler full of water and said, `Your life is spoiled sahib. The way they are torturing you makes our blood boil. But what then? We are quite helpless; we can't do any thing.' Then he asked innocently, `Sahib are you really a spy?'
Hearing that, for a moment I forgot all the pains, then looking at the sentry asked, `What do you think?'
`We can't believe it. But they are saying they have all the proofs against you,' replied the sentry.
`Well brother, I don't know what proofs they are talking about. It all sounds absurd.... But there has to be something, which rightly or wrongly they know about and believe to be correct. Otherwise, they would not have reduced me to the present state.... Now, what is that, how do they know and who is responsible for incriminating me? I've no answers to these questions; I don't know.... It's a mystery to me. I wish they ask me directly. Only then can I clear their doubts. But alas!..... `Staring into space, I muttered,' God alone knows why I'm made to suffer this humiliation and disgusting brutal torture... or.... How long this will continue; whether I will be pull myself through or die.... I don't know.'I breathed deeply and looked at the sentry.
Anyway sahib, if you're innocent God will see to it, don't worry.' The sentry consoled and offered me a biree to smoke.
Despite my crushing pains, I felt emotionally moved at this humane gesture of the sentry. I was disallowed smoking since the day I had been brought to this slaughterhouse. So I greedily accepted the offer. The sentry lit two birees and nervously, gave one to me, retaining the other for himself.
`Thank you.... Thank you so much brother,' I expressed my gratitude and smoked with relish till there was nothing left of the biree. After smoking, I asked the sentry, `What's the time?' It was 2:30 A.M. and the date 30 August.
`30 August?' I asked in surprise.
`Yes. And, sahib I have strict orders to make you stand, the moment you regain consciousness. But seeing your condition, the only thing I can do to help you is to allow some rest. So, you better sleep,' advised tue sentry.
`Thank you, dear,' I said closing my eyes.
There was a chain of disorderly thoughts, like the cast of a film screened before the start of a picture - some readable, the others half read and remaining unread, when the viewer unable to keep pace with the fast changing cast, just stares, without any further attempt to read. I let my thoughts go astray, and along with the thoughts fell asleep on the only item in the cell; the rough coir mat, despite all the shooting pains in my body.
`However, the sleep didn't last long. I found myself up on my feet, after I had received a hard kick from the Chottee Sahib, and like an automation started counting the numbers. `Nine thousand nine hundred ninety eight... ninety seven.... six...'
It was the fifth or sixth or even the seventh day, since it was difficult for me to keep count, without sleep, rest, all the time either standing and counting the numbers or receiving severe beating, except when I was unconscious. I started loosing control over my senses, giving way to an unknown fear. I started trembling at the mere sight of Chotte Sahib or the interrogators. I saw my death looming large in them.
I was led to the interrogation room. Instead of two, now there were three butchers ready to suck the marrow from my bones.
`Heh - heh - heh. See here comes your friend Major sahib!' remarked KSS in sarcasm. Jolly looked at me for a few seconds and said, `Sit down you bastard.' And I obeyed.
`Ohe! Why the hell are you keeping your hands under your arse?' shouted KSS.
I didn't answer, but looked at KSS with the eyes of a goat taken for slaughter. At that, KSS got up, came near me and muttering, `You heard me, what did I ask?' slapped my face, adding, `You better answer fast, when I ask you. Understand, you mother fucker?'
I saw myself trapped in an utterly hopeless situation, where I could do nothing. Then I said, `Can't you see, my hands are cuffed behind?... where do you expect me to keep them? Under ....' I wanted to say `your arse', but kept quiet.
`Why? Why are you handcuffed? You must have done something wrong to annoy Chotte Sahib' said KSS stupidly.....
`Didn't you hear what I'm asking?', KSS shouted at the top of his voice.
What answer could I give? Didn't they know the answer. Was it not on their orders that the things were moving? Then what answer did they expect from me? But as I was afraid of another slap, I answered quickly, `I don't know sirs.... I really don't know what have I done to annoy anyone.... So what can I say?'
`Okay. This time I shall make you comfortable, but be careful in future. If I find you again handcuffed by the Chotte Sahib, then it might prove hard for you. And, bastard you're an officer; don't you feel ashamed if these inspectors handcuff you?' Saying this, KSS shouted for Chotte Sahib and, when he came, asked him to open the shackles.
Listening to the childish and irrelevant questions and finding myself forced to reply, to avoid beating, I was puzzled and lost. I did not understand nor did I know, what I should do to avoid getting slowly, but surely killed. `Oh God! How to pull through', I thought in utter desperation.
Logic and intelligence succeeds, but only when there is some one to appreciate to analyse such logic; not where the people are devoid of theintelligence to analyse such logic; not where the minds are pre-biased; not where the fools entertain a worng notion of being intelligent. And such I thought were my interrogators.
`All right. Now tell us, where all did you go and who all did you meet, after your arrival in Delhi?.. And don't try to hide anything or befool us. You have befooled us enough,' commanded Major Jolly.
`Well sir, you think so. I didn't. Nor have I any reason to befool you. But if you're thinking so, then how can I help that...'
`Shut up, and proceed to do what you've been asked to.'
I told them in detail about the places I had gone to and the people I had visited after my arrival in Delhi.
`Whose telephone numbers are lying in your sut case?'
`My sut case? How do you know there are telephone numbers?' so my box too has been opened in my absence: I want to know why? Who's got the right to do so? Why? Couldn't my box be opened in my presence? It's not that it matters, but a question of principles...'
`Chaudhary sahib I think we got to teach him principles first, before we asked any thing else,' KSS suggested. The Chotte Sahibs were called and I was laid on the table; flat on my stomach pressed by Chotte Sahibs, Jolly and Chaudhary. Thereafter KSS started hammering the soles of my feet with a ruler mercilessly, the feet which had become like feet of an elephant due to swelling caused by continuous standing. I shouted like a madman. It was beyond my physical or mental powers to bear this extreme brutal beating. I pleaded for mercy, I pleaded that I would not annoy them and I should be spared. At that I was left to cry. And cry I did, like an orphan child, but without any effect on the brutes who were devoid of any human feelings, I told them, the numbers were that of my friend Pasha and my sister's son.
`But we have checked; at these numbers no one knows you,' Jolly said.
Ìt's because, sir, the telephones belong to other people who live nearby. So obviously the owners don't know me, but they know my friend and my nephew,' I replied while wiping my tears with the torn sleeve of my stinking shirt.
`Okay, now tell us about Major Midha and Havildar Ram Sarup? What all did you talk to them?' Queried Major Jolly.
`I have already told you in detail; the time the date and the talk. Haven't I, sir? But if you again want I'll again tell you,'
`Hmmm, leave that. But you have been telling people here that you know about the interrogation. Haven't you?'
`Yes, sir. I did tell a few people and I told them also,' I said pointing to KSS and Mr. Chaudhary.
`Well if you're innocent then how the hell did you know it was interrogation?' asked Chaudhary.
I looked at all the three in contempt then suddenly remembering the beating, changed my expression. Then I explained in detail once again, about all the emaciated efforts to make the plan workable. I said, `sir, who under these circumstances would not know what it was? If one is a bit intelligent.'
`The problem with you bastard is that you are not only intelligent but super intelligent. Anyway rest assured; unless you come out with the dirt yourself, we will smash this brain of yours and throw it to the ants. Remember that. You think we can't do that?' said Jolly.
`Yes, sir, you can. I have no illusion that you cannot. You not only can do it, but you'll do so. Because I have no dirt in me to take out. And under the circumstances the only thing left for you to do is to smash my brain,' I looked at each of them and added,' so, sirs, I have a request. Kindly smash the brain quickly and relieve me of this inhuman torture.'
`Don't worry son. We'll not let you die so soon. Have you seen a dog dying?... You shall meet your end worse than a dog's death. If you have not seen one dying, you would soon see it for yourself.... tst..... tst. Sorry but you wónt live to narrate your experience to others,' spoke KSS, grinding his teeth and twitching his face. Then turning to his other companions he said, `I think we should give him an hour or two. In that let him decide. Which way he would like to be treated,' and turning to me said `Did you hear that, you burn, son of a dog.'.....
`Chotte Sahib, take this Dracula away,' KSS commanded. Thereafter I was sent back to the cell.
Immediately after lunch I was led back to the interrogation room. My blindfold was removed and I saw Major Midha sitting with the interrogators. Seeing him I saw a little streak of hope, an illusion which was soon dispelled. Major Midha strongly refuted any talk between us or having advised me to see the DMI. I could see clearly the contemptuous face, reflecting extreme hatred. He denied and belittled any knowledge about me or anything to do with my work.
It was a short interview. When Major Midha left, Havildar Ram Sarup was brought in. The interrogators asked Ram Sarup in my presence, if the latter had any talk which I had told the interrogators, that I had with him. like Midha, Ram Sarup also denied it. I saw clearly but with remorse, that my friends whom I held in esteem, were turning their faces away like strangers. What could I do? My friends had just tried to falsify the truth. In a desperate attempt to remind. Havildar Ram Sarup about the talks between us, I said, `But Ram Sarup I told......'
`You told me nothing and don't tell lies Sahib,' interrupted Ram Sarup. I looked at him in disgust, only a week ago, I remembered this worthy and loyal NCO swearing by his loyalty and here he was lying innocently. Phew!
I gave a derisive glance and looked away. I heard KSS shouting. `You are an intelligent liar but your game is now over.' Then KSS turned to Ram Sarup and said,' Thanks very much for telling us the truth. You may go.' Ram Sarup gave a nervous look at me and left.
Was Ram Sarup driven by the unknown forces of fate when he had denied a simple truth? Probably, yes. Because it was a look which turned out to be the last. I was never to see him again; except to hear the heart shattering cries, at the same place nearly after a month, before he was killed. He was tortured to death by the same persons who had thanked him for `telling the truth'. Was it fate that had contrived against the NCO? Once Ram Sarup left, the interrogators fell on me like hungry vultures on a carcass, denuding it or flesh with their sharp curved beaks and then breaking even the bones, one after the other. They slapped me, hit the soles of my feet with a ruler, bashed me up in my hips; and beat me with any weapon that was available to them. They pricked under the finger nails of my left hand with a needle, mercilessly and this was the most painful of all the tortures. Then they pulled away the hair of my moustache, one by one.
Under this hopeless situation I dragged on for two more days. Physically I was in hopelessly precarious condition. I was once again in the throes of agony which led me to the extreme and beyond it. But the devils took that as a part of my toughness. I was too though to be broken easily, the interrogators thought. But alas! There is nothing known to the human mind which is not broken. When the strongest matter can be broken, then what was I? A simple human being. And the human body is more vulnerable to such forces of brutality, as I was undergoing and mind deprived of physical support is fallible. So, the devils finally came out victorious!
`Do you know Captain Nagial?' Asked Jolly.
I looked at Jolly in surprise. Because Nagial was the GSO-3 (Int) under Jolly in Hq 16 Corps. Of course I knew Nagial as we had served together in 8 Dogras prior to our commission. We had applied and were selected to undergo pre-commission training together, in the Army Cadet College. I was put in a zero term and thus Nagial had passed out six months before me. That was in June 1969. After our respective commissions we had met each other for the first time in Major Jolly's office at Nagrota, in June 1975. This was known to major Jolly. Hence I was surprised at the question.
`Don't you know that, sir?' I asked
`But I'm asking you?'
`Yes, I know him,' I replied.
`Wasn't he your friend.'
`Well, if toknow a person while in service is called friendship, then yes.'
`The problem with you is that you know everything, but donkeys like you refuse to move unless kicked.'
`I don't get you, sir.'
`You will. Now, when was he posted as GSO 3 (Int)?'
Ì don't know. I only met him in 1975 in your office.'
`Don't you know Sepoy Ajit who was s relation of Captain Nagial?'
`Yes, sir, I know him. He was for sometime in my platoon before he was recalled to the Company Hqs'.
`Didn't he ever tell you he was related to Captain Nagial?'
`Yes, he did.'
`How and when?'
`How can I say that, when I don't remember. But may be during the short period he was my orderly.'
`When was it?'
`I don't exactly remember but I think when he served in Samba in March or April 1974.'
`Where did he go there after?'
`I said he was recalled to the Company Hqs.'
`Where is he now?'
`In some Jail, but where; that I don't know?'
`Why is he in a Jail?'
`For spying against India. Didn't I tell you?'
`How do you know this?'
Ì was told by Major Midha.'
`Bastard you know every thing. You know in which jail he is but you are bent upon getting yourself mauled. Aren't you?'
`I am completely exhausted replying to you time and again that I know nothing; nothing whatsoever about where either Nagial or Ajit is. However, since you are bent upon killing me, I am helpless-drifting in a rudderless boat. I'm being washed away under your tortures, like in an unknown swift current. By the way sir, can I dare to ask you, what relevance it has I know where Ajit is? Why don't ask me instead the circumstances, you know, to be the cause of my involvement with Ajit and Nagial. I can then clarify your doubts.' I said in a weak voice.
`Look Rathaur,' Jolly asked, `When was Nagial apprehended?'
`Well I think, sir, in September or October 1975.'
`When and how did you come to know about his arrest?'
`I came to know about Nagial's arrest from an Assistant Commandant (AC) of the BSF Intelligence, and if I correctly remember, his name was Ashok. This he told me during one of our joint interrogations, which we were carrying out at Samba, of a person apprehended at the border. It was probably mid November 1975,' I replied.
`Nagial's arrest was kept a high secret, then how did Mr. Ashok know?' Asked Jolly.
I wanted to say that was not my move to Delhi and arrest also kept a secret? So probably Nagial's arrest was also kept a secret similarly. Because that was the way the Military Intelligence tried to keep every thing a secret! Instead I said, `I don't know, sir. May be he knew that through the Intelligence Bureau sources, I can't say for sure how he did know.'
`But why did he volunteer the information to you?'
`I don't know why he did. May be out of mutual confidence being in the same profession, or may be out of revenge.
`What revenge? Why should he have any feelings of revenge?'
`Well, sir, if you may remember about Havildar Santokh Singh of the BSF who was apprehended for spying by the BSF and who, later had escaped from their custody. It was on your directions that I had indirectly investigated the case, and submitted the report to the Corps Hqs. And the draft of that report was prepared by you....! I said `looking at Jolly and asked, `Do you remember that, sir,?'
`Yes I know that.'
`Thank God! You remember at least that!! Then you would also remember that there was a big tumult over his interrogation. The army wanted to take him over but the BSF had not conceded. Then he escaped from their custody. And the BSF was openly ridiculed by the army. And I know it was all done under your investigation. It was you who use to say that Santokh Singh was deliverately allowed to escape from the BSF's higher direction...'
Yes, of course it was a preplan. Not only used to say, but I still say that,' Major Jolly interrupted and said,' and it was planned because there were a lot many BSF personnel including their officers who were involved. And the BSF didn't want their names to come out.'
`But how do you know, with such surety, that there were so many people involved and if you were or are still sure, then what action has been taken against them?'
`The action certainly will be taken. You don't have to worry about that. And bastard I'm not here to reply to your questions. And don't try to distract us. You've still not answered my question.'
`I 'm not distracting you, sir, rather I'm leading you to the answer. And to continue, there was lot of bitterness and mudslinging; though it was not on the surface. Prpbably Ashok also was bitter. So they had found a missile in the form of Captain Nagial to catapult on the army in exchange. Ashok had told me, "why blame a poor BSF Havildar, when in your army, officers are busy in spying, and what information can a Havildar give in comparison to an army officer, that too a GSO 3 (Int) of a Corps Hqs." And on my further asking about who the officer was Ashok had disclosed the name of Captain Nagial.'
`What was your reaction on hearing about his arrest?'
`Well, of course it was a shock to hear about an officer indulging is such dastardly acts, that too someone whom I knew.
At that I saw all three of them looking at each other with flashing eyes and crooked smiles on their lips.
At that moment it suddenly dawned on me and I thought, `Then was it Captain Nagial who incriminated me? Oh God! but why should he have done so? I had no enmity with him. And what could he have achieved by implicating an innocent person? But then if it was Nagial, then they should have called me earlier.'
Why have they done this after three years?
I got to know the answers to all the `why's', but that was much later.
`What did you do after hearing about Nagial?' Asked Major Jolly.
`Was I required to do anything, sir...?'
`Don't question, shouted Jolly,' answer precisely what is being asked.'
`Since I was not required to do anything, I didn't do anything. Out of sheer curiosity, I checked from Major Madan and disclosed the news to Captain V.K. Dewan the GSO 3 (Int), who was a friend of mine. Later. I also learnt about Nagial from Mr. A.K. Chabra from the Intelligence Bureau, who had probably arrested two serving personnels earlier; one of them was a relation of Nagial...'
`What else did Chabra tell you?'
`He told me that this relation of Nagial was instrumental in the arrest of Nagial.'
`And, sir, he had expressed his shock over the way the army was interrogating, by treating a person worse than an animal: Then I had disagreed with his views. But how wrong I was! I know now, why he had condemned the army interrogators.'
Hearing this all three of them laughed at me, and Major Jolly said, `Son, your friend was correct and so are you. But you're a little mistaken at that. You haven't yet seen the real show. I'll tell you, we have mastered as many as thirty six techniques of inflicting torture. What you are undergoing is not even the third completed. So you can well imagine what might happen to you, in case you force us to apply all thirty six,' and giving a devilish smile he asked, `What is the name of that serving personnel who was instrumental in Captain Nagial's arrest?'
`I don't know, sir.'
`Don't worry we will make you remember.'
And remember, they made me. The beating was till then restricted to the interrogators and the Chotte Sahibs, and afterwards it was free for all. The sentries on duty were also made to test their strength against my misconceived toughness. I was made to suffer, the tortures of the worst kind and subjected to less unspeakable humiliation and disgrace. My whole body was lacerated with injuries, my ears were disfigured and my left hand had paralysed due to the insertion of needles under the fingers nails. My body had swollen like a balloon as a result of excessive pounding and continuous standing. There was hardly a part of my body which didn't have abrasions or that didn't pain. It was surely the eighth wonder of the world, to see me still breathing.
And finally I was lead again to the interrogation room, for the real show down; preliminary, to the bigger massacre of innumerable innocent lives which followed subsequently and a little later, not only the nation but the entire world knew it as `The Samba Spy Scandal', the worst of its kind in espionage history!
|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 ||