The Great Detectives
I was given enough time to straighten out my limbs and nurse my cramps and wounds, but in complete isolation; I took full benefit of the time in bringing my lost senses back to normal and then tried to form a picture by putting various bits and pieces together. It was apparent to me that Nagial was the only person to involve me. And his motive to involve me, was to mislead the Army authorities away from his real accomplice, whoever he was, so that the accomplice could work in freedeom. And Ajit, I was convinced, was also a part of same gang. There was no doubt in my mind about that.
I felt pity at the interrogators and also Colonel Gupta, who had fallen prey so easily to the conspiracy hatched by either the FIU or Captain Nagial. I tried hard, but I failed to understand one thing. Why should have Colonel Gupta refused to listen to me. Was that also a result of a biased mind?
I expected the case to be initiated against me, hence I was waiting to be shifted back to the Mess. Though I was wrong to think as I did, because I was put through further interrogation. There was no torture this time. I was asked to reveal the other contacts. They were sure no person ever stopped working once he was into spying. They said they knew and there was every piece of evidence to support their claim. They said, I had taken my jeep driver, personnel of my staff and also my relieving officer, Captain A K Rana. For three days I was kept under a great pressure. But I stood my ground, because of that I was put through the second round of torture.
Weary as I was of the previous torture, my nerves gave away. I agreed with the interrogators that I had taken my driver, Havildar Raghubir Singh, Havildar Ram Sarup and Captain Rana acroos the border.
Before relenting I had thought, even if I say I did take these people since they were so insistent that I did, it will make hardly any difference. Because these persons will be called for interrogation only once my trial is over. And since I shall bring out the truth about the conspiracy at my trial, the question of these people coming for interrogation will not arise. I had drawn this conclusion from the fact that my name was given in 1975, as I presumed, by Captain Nagial whereas I was called for interrogation after three years. And it was a logical conclusion for me to draw. Thus I will be able to escape the torture, I had thought.
There was nothing wrong with my thinking. But where I went wrong was, I did not take into consideration the type of brains which constituted the Intelligence Corps of the Indian Army. I had personal experience as an example. If I had taken this factor into account I would have reached some other deduction and avoided the disaster which ensued. And when I realised my mistake, I committed another blunder in an attempt to correct my earlier mistake. I had now, understood the meaning of "sincere cooperation" and that of the "question in issue."
Full assistance was rendered to me in the concoction of stories involving the above named persons. The stories were written and re-written, while removing any snag in the concoctions. Yet such a concoction could never replace the truth. And the truth was that, the stories were false. As such the stories could not be perfect. For instance I said I took my driver Karam Singh in January 1975. The truth was that Karam Singh was not even posted to the detachment in january 1975, let alone me having taken him to Pakistan. However, if I thought by doing so, I had circumvented the interrogations, then I had surely mistaken the capabilities and the powers of my friends, the murderers. They were perfect in applying switches. As much later, when forcing me to corroborate the period I had intentionally put while writing the story I was told by KSS, `Son, you thought you could take us for a ride. I grant you your intelligence, but take a word of advice, and a warning as well. We have been born, brought up and are living in the profession.
How correct KSS was! Though, at that time I did not give any credence to the statement. But I was to experience subsequently the stark truth in the statement and also realise the powers of the great detectives!
Content at having saved my skin, I waited again, to be shifted. But alas, that was not to be in the foreseeable future. The destiny had contrived against me. It had something ridiculously profane in store for me, of which I had not the slightest idea.
One day while brooding in the wilderness of my cell, where I lay circumscribed, I heard pathetic cries from the adjoining cell, above the abusive uproar created by the Chotte Sahibs. I recognised the cries as those of my jeep driver Karam Singh.
Oh God! What's happened!! So they have arrested him!!! I thought while under complete shock. How could they verify the wrong facts as disclosed by me?
This was infact where I had gone wrong. What of facts?
Was I not arrested on the basis of such facts, which remained unverified? Had the authorities verified a single fact as disclosed in my so called confessional statement? None. Then was I not wrong in thinking what I had thought? Yes, I was.
So this is how the Intelligence Wing of the Indian army functions. They arrest a person for an offence where such a person is not even present let alone committing the offence, I thought in bitterness, and, of course, with shattered illusions.
When I could bear it no longer the nerves shattering cries of unfortunate Karam Singh, I banged the locked door of my cell and shouted for the Chotte Sahibs. And when a Chotte Sahib came I said, please stop beating him. He's innocent. Please don't beat him. I begged and implored them, but they were not prepared to listen to me.
I was told to remain shut up, unless I also wanted to be included for beating. So I was forced to spend the night restlessly praying while waiting for the trio to come.
The next day, I told the interrogators, `Now look, sir, I'll tell you what, I am innocent. I had succumbed to the torture and signed the statement. And if I am innocent how can others whose names were taken from me be traitors? They are not, sir. Please. For God's sake don't commit these atrocities on innocent lives,' I continued while the trio listened to me contemptuously, `Sir, I don't know the contents of my so called confession; I've no knowledge at all. How could I have, sir? I had already told you about my leave dates a number of times prior to the confession. And I again tell you, sir, I was on leave at the time I'm alleged to have been taken to Pakistan by Nagial.' I paused and laconically surveyed their faces for any reaction, and continued,' And Sir, I had no jeep, civil painted or otherwise with me in the detachment, in July or August, 1974. How then could I have gone in my civil painted jeep to Manwal Camp when I had none? You've been saying that you have put circles wherever I pissed; but I deeply regret to say let alone putting circles nobody apparently, has bothered to check upon such basic facts. I wish you'd done so. But alas! The only thing that appears to have been done is to hatch the story like a hen over an egg, a rotten egg!"
There was a death like silence. It was broken by KSS.
"You bastard, you think you've been arrested without any checks?... We, have been telling you ever since that your game is over. We know that you were on leave but you have spent the leave in the station..."
"But sir, there is one Aya Singh in the story. I have never met him ever in my life. To ascertain this fact, I request you to kindly arrange for an identification parade. You'll then get to know the truth.' I said, cutting short KSS.
The trio looked at one another dubiously, and grinned mischievously. Then I was sent back to the cell, where I kept listening to the pathetic cries of Karam Singh.
The next day I was led back to the interrogation room; for interrogation.
My blindfold was removed and I found an additional person sitting in the chair. I looked at the interrogators and found them grinning.
`Do you recognise me?' The stranger asked me.
`No, sir. I don't know you,' I replied.
`Well, you see, I am Gnr Aya Singh. You're finding it difficult to recognise me, because one, I have put on a lot of weight and two, I've changed my hair style. Do you now recognise me?'
My heart sank with an unknown fear and eerie feelings. But I managed to say, while looking at the interrogators, `This is highly profane and dirty! You're playing with my life Jolly, sir!! Remember you won't be spared the wrath of God..... Is this your friendship, that you are knowingly playing this dishonourable game?' Then looking at the person who had introduced himself as Gnr Aya Singh I said,' And look you mister whoever you are, I don't know you. What have I .....'
I was not allowed to complete the sentence. At a pre-arranged signal Gnr Aya Singh got up, caught my arm nearest to him with one hand and twisted it to an angle, where, I thought the arm was broken, and with other hand he started beating me. I was helpless and kept refusing that I did not know him. But how long could I do that? There was no option. So when I could no longer hear the beating and realising it was of no use of argue, I said, alright, leave me I have to know you. So I know you.
At that interrogators who were watching the drama in peace sent Aya Singh away from the room. Then KSS got up and slapped me across my bruised cheeks. Then he said, you better stop your drama, if you wish to get out alive from here.
What a sincere advice it was?
Back in the cell I cried and cried till there was no tears left in the already exhausted tear bank.
Is this how an identification is carried out? Why are these stupid and wicked people after my blood? Why are they not prepared to believe me when I am speaking the facts? Why is there no one to recognise and understand a simple truth? Is this how this stinking Intelligence Organisation has started to function? I brooded over these questions bitterly over and over again but I had no answers. Nor was there anyone from whom I could ask. It was too late, now to retrieve. I had foolishly lost my trump cards which I had for so long, kept up my sleeve.
`Where did I go wrong?! I tried to analyse.' Should I have told them about these facts when I signed the statement? But I had tried then. They did not listen to me. So what's all this?'
Whatever it was, I was certainly doomed playing the cards at this belated stage. I was wrong to do that. But then I was always wrong. I thought.
`It was wrong in the first place for me to have taken birth and then not die. But that was beyond my powers to avoid. I was wrong when I joined the army, became an officer, and served the organisation with devotion and loyalty. Then I was wrong in accepting the posting to the Intelligence. The gravest mistake which I committed was in putting every bit of my energy and carrying out the task given to me successfully and in that neglecting even my children, my personal comforts, and pulling the reins hard on my men in order to produce such quality work which was never done there before by anyone at that level, inspite of the meagre resources at my disposal. Now the same has become the cause of destruction of my loyal and innocent men. And of course the gravest mistake of all the worngs which I have committed is not to have died before putting the signatures on the fucking fake story..... Everything thereafter, is now irrelevant. If I died now, it will be disastrous for other innocent people whose lives I have put in a burning crucible.... I must think of some alternatives, to come out alive from this burning bell.'
And an alternative I did find. I remembered, the best way to cope with danger is to keep continuous and intimate contact with it, How to remain so, was the problem.
I as a commando, was aware of one such a tactic : When you're cut off by the enemy, then first hold your ground, but if you are unable to, don't try to break through the enemy lines at that point. If you do that, it will be disastrous. The best way to counter such a threat, is to penetrate deeper inside enemy territory, cause damage, and then attempt an exit at a point where enemy is the weakest.
This was possible if I could somehow convince my biased interrogators, that I was a type of traitor, never born before, and yet create loopholes, for escape, whenever the opportunity came; which of course I never got till the end. I was wrong here also. My own sacrifice and the sacriface of other innocent people proved insufficient, in laying off the brutal torture.
I was horror struck, when with a deluge of dirty abuses my bedding, consisting of a ground sheet, given to me after I had signed the confession, was pulled from under me and taken away. I was made to stand and shout, this time in addition to numbers, songs like ; "Main Jasoos hun", (I am a spy), "Danda Peer Jasooson ka", (Rod is the God for Spies), and "Pakistan Painda bad". I was repeatedly threatened.
What exactly did the interrogators take me for, a spy? Or a recruiting agent for Pakistan? Was Pakistan enlisting an army from within the Indian Armed Forces, or were they interested only in the military information? If it was information they were interested in, then was not one officer of my calibre, enough to damage the entire Command? Certainly - if I did so! Then what additional information could be given by my friends and men of my platoon ? And that too from the same Brigade! Was it believable? Certainly not.
However, there are two more possibilities for my indulging in this nefarious act, the interrogators could think of: one, that Pakistan was doing a long term planning, and two, that I introduced the entire Brigade and my men to Pakistan's FIU, with a view to covering up my own activities and remove any danger to my own activities and personal self. But if the interrogators thought either or both the possibilities existed, then they should have also known the procedures for long term planning, It is invariably done by planting one's own person with a proper cover-up job in the target country. And such persons who are highly qualified and trained in the job, work most discreetly. Even then it is clear and history bears witness to it, that no spy ring of this type has remained functional for long. If that has to be taken as a fact, then which is the organisation that would throw away huge sums of money, for such type of planning? May be the personnel of the Indian Army Intelligence!
And if I did it to cover up myself, then was that a wise step? Was I not afraid of someone who might report if I tried to deceive him? Or was that a fact that none of the persons I alleged or believed to have taken across, were without moral courage? If they were, then how was it possible for me to know the fact in advance? It was not. No one in his right senses whould have ever attempted to pull each and every person into spying, as the interrogators believed about me. And if I, who knew the game how to operate sources, was spying for Pakistan, than no one else could have advised me better than I myself. Such a job was done with utmost care discretion and alone I would definitely have not included so many people at the risk of being exposed. Thus none of the possibilities fitted into the logically drawn up picture.
I couldn't help smiling with contempt even under that painful condition, to see such an erratic functioning of the Intelligence people. It was stupid and incredible! I thought while shouting, `Main Jasoos hun.'.....'
Now the entire complex where I was confined in one of the cells, hummed, despite all its sound proof system, and vibrated with pathetic cries; shouting of numbers and the abuses by Chotte Sahibs, while they beat the unfortunate victims.
The atmosphere of the entire complex matched possibly Hitler's extermination camps!
This was the third round of tortures and it lasted till the first week of October, 1978; a period of twenty one days, I calculated later.
By the time I was excused further tortures, the number of persons whose names were forced out of me had probably reached a dozen. I wondered why there was no torture, but I did not realise that the attention had been shifted to others'my victims! May be, it was not possible for the interrogators to deal with so large an influx which followed. Or may be that they had realised in time, that I had been reduced to a state of physical depredation, where I would have died with even half a day's extra torture. And probably they could not afford to lose such a precious foundation stone of the inverted pyramid, they were busy constructing, as myself.
The atom had blasted and the fission started.
|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 ||