Samba Spy Scandal

Tracing the Mystery

After analysis of the circumstances under which the entire Samba affair was created, the conclusion that automatically one would arrive at, was that, it was a conspiracy of the Pakistan's FIU aimed at complete destruction of the fibre of mutual confidence and belief that binds the command structure of any organisation. May be the action was in "proper retaliation" to the hijacking of the Fokker Friendship plane, in 1971, by the Indian Intelligence.

In order to understand the above point one is required to know, as I have tried to explain in the letter to the Minister of State for Home Affairs, that in all military organisations there is the necessity of an Intelligence Wing which amongst its other duties is responsible for the collection of intelligence data regarding, economic, industrial and military operational details of the foreign countries, more specially those that share a common border. It is therefore, the continuing endeavour of the intelligence Organisation of one such country to stay a few steps ahead of the similar organisation of the other country and at the same time to contain or neutralise the alien's Intelligence Organisation.

This purpose is achieved by a counter intelligence and among other means one of the common ways adopted to infiltrate the alien "Int Org" if possible to neutralise it. And Samba Spy Scandal was a glaring and singularly unique example of a successful blow by Pak FIU, in which a whole intelligence set up at Samba alongwith its Brigade was virtually obliterated.

The Pak FIU evidently, conceived, planned and affected the conspiracy through their trained and trusted agents like Aya Singh and Sarwan Dass who admittedly were promoted to the rank of officers (at least one of them) in the Pak Army. The initial aim of the Pak FIU may have been to neutralise the intelligence setup, if they had come to know about the damage which my sub unit was causing to them. But subsequently, as it appears, the aim was expanded when they saw it being aided by the blundering of the not too keen officers of the Indian Army.

Gnrs Aya Singh and Sarwan Dass were apparently planted as decoys. Since their arrest and till I was arrested, they had already implicated as many as 17 officers and men, a fact which no one knew till the end. On the contrary, the figure of these 17 personnel was used by the official sources to justify their actions; for instance one of the magazines published a chart tabulating the figures year wise starting from 1975 and wrote, "... Samba Spy Scandal is not a first example of the army personnel spying for the enemy country. Before this also, there have been cases where army men were caught for such involvement..." Yes no doubt the information was correct, but the nature of such arrests was withheld. Because they were also caught on the disclosure of their names, by the same two gunners.

The interrogations of these personnel were also carried out by the same set of interrogators. These persons were tried and convicted. The only evidence to support such convictions were the testimonies of the gunners and the confessions which were dictated under torture. However, the conviction of these persons by the GCMs gave immense courage and power to the interrogators, for further indulgence, wehre they surpassed all known limits of human torture and decency in a civilised country.

No doubt it certainly was a conspiracy in which the gunners played a significant role. However, the question is whether they alone did it by misleading the interrogators and creating emotional hate against the alleged offenders or were they aided by someone among the interrogators willingly?

According to my analysis there was one of the following factors involved behind the entire episode:

a) The interrogators were misled.

b) The interrogators were initially misled, and when they realised their mistake of having fallen prey to the designs of the FIU it was too late for them to retrace their steps.

c) Someone in the interrogating team or possibly all of them were part of the conspiracy.

First possibility

Though most of the persons out of the 17 implicated by either Gnr Aya Singh or Sarwan Dass belonged to their (Gnrs) unit except a few who were from different units. It was thus perfectly right for the interrogators and army authorities concerned to assume that the allegations were infact correct. Though such assumptions can be based solely on suspicion. There was no evidence otherwise to substantiate the charges. For instance, the charges levelled against Nagial were not proved, yet he was sentenced to 7 years RI. In one of these 17 cases Major Ajwani the DJAG, had passed strictures against the interrogators, yet the person tried to that court was sentenced. And of course Major Ajwani had to pay a very heavy penalty for his righteousness. He was also involved in the Samba Case. This was probably done by the interrogators in order to disprove the strictures passed by him and to improve their image in the eyes of the higher commanders. They could claim as they did, Major Ajwani had passed the strictures because of his own involvement.

Similar was the case of Major Midha. He was arrested because he had refused to give false evidence in the court of inquiry constituted to find the circumstances of Havildar Ram Sarup's death. Then Major Subhash Juneja, who on the instructions of Command HQ, had carried out interrogation and then termed the report of these interrogations, as myth. He too was implicated.

However, to justify these circumstances, it can be presumed that the interrogators were misled, by those two decoys. They were genuine in their belief of what was said by the gunners. Thus under a false sense of "patriotism" coupled with emotional hate they would act completely without compassion. In order to avenge the imaginary "traitors" they chose to forsake humanity and became demons. They perpetrated unspeakable atrocities on the unfortunate victims. The whole Brigade was thus implicated.

But could it be presumed that the interrogators were misled to such an extent where they believed the involvement of an entire Brigade to be true? It was incrediable if they did, because even a laymen would not subscribe to this idea that so many officers from a single Brigade would indulge in spying.

Coming to the torture, even if it is to be granted, was justificable because the "die hards" as Captain Dube had commented, "would not speak otherwise", whey were then the stories, first concocted and later dictated? Why were the "die hards" not allowed to speak, if they had anything to speak themselves? It is more than evident that the so called confessional statements were indeed dictated, because all those from whom the interrogators claimed to have obtained "voluntary statements" have said in their statements: "then we went to Pak Post Kandral... and after about an hour or so Major Khan of the Pak FIU came." This had become the set pattern of statements called confessions!

Post Kandral (which the reader by now should be familiar with in an Indian Border Out Post) was introduced by me, as a Pak BOP, when I was convinced about their attitude which initially I thought was "biased", and on which I showed took my accomplices, with the specific aim to disprove at a later date, any claim of the interrogators to the voluntary nature of the statement.

Was then the dictation of confession an act of the interrogators' misled and biased minds?

I had pleaded to the interrogators a number of times about my false involvement in the espionage by some one with ulterior motives. I had put forward foolproof evidence to refute the allegation of Aya Singh. But such evidence was either neutralised or obliterated. Could this action of obliterating the evidence, by the interrogators, be attributed to their "prejudiced minds"? If so, it certainly would be a baseless argument in the face of such revelations as above that the interrogators were misled. There was indeed something else hidden more deeply. No officer could be misled to such an extent by any force, let alone the gunners.

Second possibility

Then what was it? Could it be that the interrogators were initially misled and when they realised the mistake it was too late for them to retrace their steps?

It does seem plausible enough. The interrogators were initially misled and subsequently when the truth of the case dawned on them, they did not have the courage to correct themselves. If they did so, they probably thought they were doomed. Hence instead of retracing their steps from the wrong path, they went ahead sprinting.

If that be so, the question arises, at what stage of the case, did the truth dawn on them?

The truth, as it appears from the case, should have dawned, on them that Gnrs Aya Singh and Sarwan Dass were playing a heinous game of involving loyal men of the army in espionage for their own gains. They should have realized at least, when Major Ajwani in the capacity of a DJAG had passed strictures on them, and Major Subhash Juneja termed the interrogation report as `myth'.

And if at that time it was difficult to have realised the game played by the Pak FIU through their decoys, there was every scope for such a realisation when they had arrested me. But then also they preferred to ignore the truth, which was an open truth. On the contrary they sided with Aya Singh and went even a step further to distort the evidence. Had they corrected themselves even at that stage, nothing wrong would have come to them,; and perhaps the real traitors would have been caught. And so whatever damage had been caused prior to my arrest could have been mended, the prestige of the army thus would have been saved and it's moral restored. Also, if planned, a counter blow could have been delivered to the Pak FIU, by playing the game in reverse order. However, nothing of the sort was done, and thus this possibility also stands ruled out.

Third possibility

Under the third circumstance two possibilities may be considered. One; the interrogators knew the stories were false, but with a view to obtaining promotions and medals, as was hinted by Shri VK Kaul, the Deputy Director of IB, they resorted to tortures of the kind where the victims had only two alternatives, either to accept the dictates or die. However, looking at the damage done to the army and national reputation, apart from the atrocities that were committed upon countless people, it looks quixotic, to believe that it was done for promotions and medals. Yet one knows not the depths of degradation sick minds my descend to in pursuit of self-aggrandisement!

It may also be said that I was made a target because of personal enmity. But I had no enemy who would have tried to harm me so blasphemously. While it is true that I had reported against certain people while in Samba for their misuse of government property and public funds, such reports were never initiated by accusing any one by name, rather those were against a unit and its commander. It may however, be presumed that it was the commander or Commanding Officer who had tried to harm me. But to do so for such an officer was not only difficult but impracticable. And then it is most unbelievable that such an officer would have been behind the creation of "this" scandal. The maximum, that such a person could do was to neutralise me alone and not so many people. This proposition, also therefore, does not stand the test of reasoning. Because prior to my arrest, 17 persons had already been similarly arrested, interrogated and convicted. Two; Under this possibility, only thing left to presume is that some one or all among the interrogating team were bought by the Pak Intelligence and what they did was in their knowledge.

The plan, it is assumed, was conceived, prepared with the minutest possible details, initially to neutralise or destroy the intelligence setup, then the Brigade and if possible, to engulf a large section of the Indian Army in false cases of espionage, as was evident at a certain stage of the Samba affair, and effected by the Pak Intelligence in collaboration with some one in the Indian Army Intelligence; taking of course the advantage of the hate which is generally generated against the offenders of such a crime. To start the plan the two gunners were planted as decoys.

The Samba Brigade and the Intelligence sub unit affiliated to this Brigade became the target, because of the strategical importance due to its very location, which is a key to the guarding or cutting off, of the entire J and K with rest of the country, and the damage, which the latter was causing to Pak interests by way of collecting information.

It has already been said that the plan, a masterpiece of the Pak Intelligence, was aimed in order to break the fibre of mutual confidence and belief of the Indian Army. If cohesion is broken and a sense of insecurity is allowed to prevail, it would result in tremendous demoralisation and frustration. It would also, render the activities of any commander in the army, suspect.

The Pak Intelligence, was more than successful in effecting this plan. To guage the extent of demoralisation which was caused because of this scandal, I deem it proper to quote an exact statement of Major General SL Malhotra the GOC of 26 Infantry Division made in reply to one of the questions raised by my wife during an interview in September, 1979. He said, "Mrs. Rathaur, what's coming to our army? I have no knowledge nor any idea. To tell you the truth, I have lost confidence even in myself, whom to believe and what to believe!" And if a Divisional Commander can lose self-confidence, what could then happen to the moral of others, is only a matter of guess.

To effect this plan for the people who were also the guardian of security, was not difficult. They could, as they did mislead the top brass into believing that infact so many officers from a single Brigade were spying for Pakistan. By doing so they also aimed at strengthening their own image and reputation.

Misleading the army Higher Command was not difficult, by the interrogators through their uncommon tactics. They first isolated a victim, broke him under torture and then dictated the pre-prepared stories and finally tortured the victims to implicate more people. The process was repeated by the people so implicated. Thus the story signed by one got corroboration from many. The standard of work to make a plan which had been prepared to arrest me, under the pretext of a temporary duty would give a glimpse into the type of minds which could possibly be termed as the "Higher Command". And it was through these corroborated briefs that this "Higher Command" got carried away and extended its protective hand for the mass massacre that ensued. Till my trial I also kept entertaining the notion of "biased minds" thinking that the interrogators had succumbed to the innocent tactics of the Pak stooges and had got carried away under a false sense of patriotism. Though many a times, my mind revolted to accept this theory. No officer in his right senses could be misled to such an extent as the interrogators were. However I could not conceive of any idea with which to support the directions of their minds.

Since I also under the threat of torture, was forced to incriminate numerous people whom I had known; or even not known, I had concluded that it was Captain Nagial who under the same circumstances was forced to incriminate me. This presumption of mine also took strength from a fact as it was disclosed in the story that Gnr Aya Singh was called for reinterrogation in which he alleged to have given my name. Gnr Aya Singh as I had thought, was called for reinterrogation to only corroborate and thus support the version of Nagial.

But the stupor was shattered when during the trial, I learnt from Nagial that he did not give my name. If Nagial was correct in his version to state that he did not give my name, as he was; looking at the fact that Aya disclosed my name in March 1978, whereas Nagial had been arrested in September 1975, just after Aya Singh's arrest, then who did it? Aya Singh? But we had never known each other and there was no question of his giving my name, since he did not know me. In the interrogating team also no one except Jolly knew me, who, then could suggest my name? Could Major Jolly, a very close friend of mine have gunned me down? If so, then for what reasons? Could Major Jolly alone, or alongwith the interrogating team be the Pak collaborator?

If this assumption could be proved correct, then it would no doubt be a tale, horrifying more in intensity to assimilate than even the similar case of Captain Dreyfus, of the French army. Also it would be nerve shattering and demoralising to the army and the nation alike. Though it would become at the same time a priceless storehouse for leaders at the helm of government affairs to draw lessons, to save not only the lives of the victims of international political vendetta, but also any similar organisation from destruction.

In order to refresh the reader, I deem it obligatory to introduce a few interrogatories based upon circumstances which were created during my stay at Samba and thereafter during the period of my illegal incarceration, by the MI Directorate.

Major Jolly, originally an officer from the Gorkha Rifles, had transferred himself into the Army Intelligence Corps, and most of time as such, had served as Corps Officer in the J and K sector. During 1974, he was the GSO 2 (Int) of the Corps Hqs, when I came to Samba as an Intelligence Officer. I organised as would be evident from the story, the operation of sources from scratch and started collecting information which ultimately reached Jolly through normal channels, as he was the officer concerned for receiving them in the Corps Hqs. Under the pretext that the information so collected were of a stragegic value, the established channels of command were side stepped and the reports prepared by me were sent to the Corps HQ directly. But the Corps Hqs did not remain content with this changed system. Major Jolly was introduced to carryout the briefing and debriefing of my sources against all ethics of the source operation.

Jolly not only briefed and debriefed them, but also maintained a separate file of my sources. A JCO from the Corps Field Security Section was, then attached to the Brigade in order to render me necessary help. Thus Major Jolly pretended successfully to be my inseparable friend.

Was Major Jolly's staying in J and K sector for such a long time a normal routine or had he manipulated it? If so, for what reasons? Was side stepping the channels of command, interfering with sources under the pretext of better briefing and debriefing, maintaining separate records for them and sending a JCO on attachment to render me help, all a legal necessity?

In 1975 CQMH Santokh Singh of the BSF was apprehended by the BSF Intelligence Wing, for spying, who later escaped from their custody. Major Jolly and shown a keen interest to take over Santokh Singh for interrogation. And when he escaped, Major Jolly started floating remours against the BSF. He said and maintained that many BSF personnel were involved in spying and that it was for this reason, Santokh Singh was allowed to escape.

First of all why should have Jolly insisted to take over a BSF personnel for interrogation when he knew the BSF had its own, better intelligence setup than the army? And then what were the basis on which he spread the baseless rumours? If to concede the rumour was not baseless, then the question arises, who were his "sources" from where he had learnt about the involvement of the BSF personnel?

Immediately after Major Jolly's posting in June or July 1975, my ace sources were neutralised. Was this a coincidence?

During the same period both the gunners were apprehended on the information of Mr. AK Chabra, the DCIO of the Intelligence Bureau. Although generally if any person, irrespective of the fact whether he is a civilian or a military personnel, is arrested by the Intelligence Bureau he is charged in a civil court, Aya Singh and Sarwan Dass were taken over by the Army (under the direction of HQ 16 Corps when Jolly was the GSO 2 (Int) for interrogation and follow up action. However, no action on allegation of spying was ever taken against them and surprisingly both were retained in the army despite confirmation that they were Pak agents and that too in the Intelligence Corps.

Why was no action taken against them and why were they retained in service? Was such an action of the concerned army authorities out of compassion or still was it a professional requirement?

Following the interrogation of Aya Singh, Captain Nagial was arrested and interrogated. The GCM trying Captain Nagial could not hold him guilty for the charges of crossing the international border for purpose of spying or otherwise. Still Nagial was sentenced on the basis of suspicion because an orbat sheet, an important document under the custody of Major Madan was found missing and the loss was attributed to Nagial. It would be of interest to keep in mind while analysing the mystery of this scandal that a similar document was found missing from the custody of this officer earlier also, when he was the GSO 2 (Int) of a different Corps that incidentally was again commanded by Lieut General D.K. Chandorkar. Why was it that everytime the documents were found missing from the custody of the same officer? Could the loss of a document in some one's custody be attributed to a third person just on suspicion? By what were the grounds of suspicion of the GCM when it had already disbelieved the story of Gnr Aya Singh, which incidentally was again the only evidence against Captain Nagial? (Major Madan also took effective part in the interrogation, being a member of the team, though he never interrogated me).

I was suddenly and unexpectedly posted out from Samba. The posting was unexpected because of the assurance given to me by the Higher Commanders to retain me at Samba because of my work for at least one more year. In fact there had been proposals to absorb me permanently in the Intelligence Corps.

Was this posting of mine a first step to neutralise me? If so, who was behind this all?

According to the ethics of interrogation, a person is not interrogated by an interrgator if the latter is known to the former and vice versa.

Major Jolly not only knew me but was supposed to be my best friend. Under the circumstances even if he was detailed by an order, he was within his rights to have refused it.

Why did Major Jolly choose to interrogate me? And after having done so why did he perpetrate all sorts of atrocities, illegalities and even went to the extent of obliterating and concealing the evidence? Was such an action of Major Jolly, a friend of mine, justified even in an exceptional circumstance?

It will be pertinent to mention that Major Jolly was not a qualified interrogator. In fact, it would be interesting to note, that none of the officers who constituted the Interrogation team were qualified as such.

Why did the MI Directorate detail these unqualified officers to the exclusion of an expert and highly trained officer like Major RS Chordia, who were renowned for such a job, to tackle such a delicate issue? Was this also a matter of routine? or was it again a coincidence? Not only me, but a number of others were pressurised to become approvers. Even senior officers like Brigadier PM Pasricha, the DDMI (later promoted as Major General), also did not lag behind. Under what necessity was such a pressure applied?

As DMI Maj. Gen. Kaul was replaced by Maj. Gen. K. Gauri Shanker by the end of 1978, Maj. Gen. Kaul was appointed as the Director of Military Operations, (DMO). Maj. Gen. K. Gauri Shanker was the divisional Commander under which came the Samba Brigade. Interestingly the appointment of the Divisional Commander as the DMI came through at a time when a whole lot of officers who had served under him were arrested. In the normal course, as the situation dictated, Maj. Gen. K. Gauri Shanker should have resigned. And in case he didn't do that, he should have been forced to resign. Because it was under him that the scandal was created and as such he could not absolve himself of the responsibilities. But surprisingly he was given a highly lucrative appointment.

Was this also a coincidence, in the routine of events or was there something sinister in his appointment? Or still, was his appointment as the DMI and that of the previous DMI as the DMO, a part of the bigger plan to make Maj. Gen. K. Gauri Shanker the sacrificial goat?

Whey were then the army authorities adamant not to allow the Intelligence Bureau to participate in the investigation? Was this denial of the army authorities a result of professional rivalry, or were they apprehensive of something unwanted coming on to the surface? There surely was something of the kind which the authorities didn't want to disclose; otherwise why was the investigation by the Intelligence Bureau, obstructed at every stage?

And finally, why did the official lips remained sealed for ever, even when there was a lot of mud hurled and the questions asked by the press?

Shri Dalip Bobb and Prabhu Chawla in their article "Samba Spy Case" in India Today, of 16 April 80 issue, wrote :

"... The prosecution theory that a large number of officers crossed the Indian border, - drove a distance of 260 Km and returned to their base at Samba all in a space of eight hours wears exceedingly thin.... There is also an indication that the arrests and dismissal order were pushed through in undue haste ... This is also questionable as to why the Intelligence Bureau which is the principal agency involved in counter espionage activities should have been kept completely out of the picture. However, the tight lipped silence on the part of officials to divulge any information on the case is perhaps the most damaging. The new government has also seemingly preferred to ignore the various memoranda sent, claiming that the case is a fraudulent one and certain senior officers have raked up the muck in order to obtain promotions for themselves, - Whatever the truth of the matter, the case has certainly not been conducted in a normal routine manner. Politics it appears, is not the exclusive preserve of politicians..."

The news was known about the scandal to the Pak FIU much before it was known to anyone in India. How could such a news reach Pakistan, when it was kept a guarded secret to the extent that even the wives of the arrested personnel, were in absolute dark about the arrest of their husbands, let alone the allegation on which their husbands were arrested. Who could then inform the Pak authorities, other than a person who knew about it? And who were the persons who knew about it?

Could all these interrogatories be the result of those coincidences? But it is said, "If previous coincidences are traced, it becomes inevitable."

And now I shall trace back the coincidences, to provide an answer; possibly the only answer.

If it is presumed, that Major Jolly was on the pay role of the Pak FIU (which invidentally provides an answer to his unusual and unreasonably prolonged stay in the J and K sector) then he saw my reports, at the Corps Hqs. He appreciated the speed with which I had spread my probing fingers across the border. He became apprehensive. As a counter to check the threat of exposure to himself, Jolly played a very innocent looking trick with complete success. He first asked for my reports to be sent to him directly and then butted in between me and my sources. By doing so he practically minimised the chances of his own exposure, at least through my sources. Still he had a reason to worry. I may not have informed him about the arrival of every source I had; he probably thought and if that was the case then he was doomed. Therefore, in order to check mate this threat, he got a JCO from the Corps Field Security Section attached with the Brigade. The JCO made sure that Jolly was informed telephonically every time a source came. Thus he was successful in sealing off all the loopholes which could have led to his exposure. This also explains the reasons why a JCO from the Corps Hqs was attached to the exclusion of the JCO of my own Company who were present at Yol Camp.

Jolly developed his friendship with me in such a manner that there was no reason for me to suspect his real motives. On the other hand he was able to win over my confidence to such an extent that I started considering him not only a foresighted and intelligent person, which he undoubtedly was, but also my benefactor. So when he maintained a separate file on my sources I had no objection whatsoever.

After having maintained the records of the sources he waited for an opportune moment to expose them to Pak authorities. And the opportunity was realised when his posting came. Jolly no doubt could have exposed the sources earlier also, but he was cunning enough to not give any chance for suspicion to anyone by exposing the sources prematurely.

He saw the threat looming large on him when CQMH Santokh Singh of the BSF was apprehended. Probably Santokh Singh knew about Jolly's involvement, so he was naturally apprehensive about his own exposure. Therefore he applied lot of pressure on the BSF to handover Santokh Singh to the army. Such a pressure was generated through the letters written by me at the instigation of Jolly, to the Corps Hqs directly. The contents of such letters were also drafted by Jolly. When Santokh Singh escaped from the BSF custody, Major Jolly took the opportunity to defame the BSF by spreading rumours, that Santokh Singh was, in fact, allowed to escape purposely by the BSF.

I do admit that I also believed that time, whatever was being propagated by Jolly. Others must have also believed it. Because his actions were so well timed, it was not possible for anyone to judge, his real intentions.

Since Jolly was in direct touch with the Pak FIU he passed on the information to them regarding the damaging information which my sub unit was acquiring. So to wipe me out of the scene they made a plan which was natural for any well organised Intelligence setup to do. To effect the plan, Major Jolly provided the required pivot.

According to the plan, it may be said that the arrest of the two gunners by the Indian Intelligence agencies was worked out with precision by the Pak Intelligence in collaboration with Major Jolly. After their arrest, the gunners were to be taken over by the army for interrogation, where Major Jolly was to interrogate them. During the interrogation they were to incriminate some persons of the army, whom they knew. Persons so incriminated were to be arrested and interrogated. During their interrogation, which implied nothing but torture, such persons were to be made to accept the fake stories.

Any officer who had served under a particular formation, would know its number, and the orbat in general. Such an officer would also know if there had been any exercise conducted by the formation; he may also remember the names of such exercises apart from the names of commanders. Such information would be asked from him and taped.

And thus, once the stories told by the gunners (Jolly) were got signed by the victims, the above details were to be included, which in fact was the practice to show, that the information was "passed to Pak FIU", in the stories termed as "confessional statements". Since the persons so incriminated would be serving at the border, it would be natural for the GCM to draw its inference about the correctness of "such stories", even if these were refuted by the victim during his trial. The gunners were then to testify as per the tutoring against the person being tried. Through their "act" of helping the Indian Military Intelligence in flushing out the "spies", pardon was to be obtained for them by Jolly.

And since the plan had been effected successfully the gunners were not only pardoned but retained in the Indian Army Intelligence.

Jolly in his ability tried to reach me through Captain Nagial, who was a victim of the initial round up. He chose Nagial, because the fact of our acquaintance was known to him. But Nagial could not be held guilty for crossing the border by the GCM during his trial. So how could I be arrested upon the story which probably had been prepared as early as 1975. Hence Jolly deemed it wise to put off my arrest for a later date. But I still was like a thorn for Jolly, if I stayed at Samba. Though at that time I could not conceive of any such move. Jolly probably was afraid of my staying in Samba, as he thought I may cultivate fresh sources, as in fact I did, and since his posting to the command Hqs, as it was not possible for him to come from there for the briefing and debriefing of my sources.

So it is plausible to believe that it was Jolly who got me posted out from Samba, as his plan to get me arrested, then, had temporarily failed. This was not difficult for him to accomplish through his personal influence, of which he had enough.

And so I was neutralised, a first step to my complete and shameful destruction.

Many a time strictures against the interrogators had been passed by the JAG branch officers, acting as DJAG. This probably annoyed them, but the interrogators by then had exhausted the stock of spies implicated by the gunners. There was nothing with which the plan could further blossom. However, they had yet to teach a lesson to whoever had spoken against them during the trials.

So the attention was turned to me after nearly three years. A story which had been prepared before, was got corroborated by Aya Singh. It was made to look as if Gnr Aya Singh had given it during his reinterrogation, showing me as one of his accomplices. However, when this story was put up to the then Chief General T.N. Raina, in March 1978, seeking his permission to arrest me, the same was refused by him. As Colonel Gupta had said, "... Because of your inflated records the previous Chief did not give permission for your arrest..." However, the permission was obtained soon after he was succeeded by General OP Malhotra.

Their detailment as interrogators, even when Jolly and team were not qualified interrogators, was to some extent justified. Because, they had established their worth as interrogators beyond any shadow of doubt in the eyes of Higher Command, through the interrogation of the gunners first and of 17 people subsequently. No one had bothered to find out and even believe what was described by the victims later. So much so, that no one tried to interfere and stop the torture even when Havildar Ram Sarup had died as a result of such torture. Not only that, the interrogators were given a protective hand by no less a person than the Chief himself. probably because of the nature of the offence, the Higher Command was prejudiced. Nothing was being considered on facts. All facts were ignored and the versions of the interrogators was apparently taken as the "universal truth."

Thus under the circumstances, the unqualified interrogators became the chief whips and thereby the masters of destiny, not only of the victims but also of the Indian Armed Force.

And since the plan had been worked out by Major Jolly he must have volunteered to participate in my interrogation. Because he knew my "confessional statement", was his own creation, and he alone knew the methods under which I could be made to accept that. This probability explains, why Jolly obliterated the evidence given by me. Not only that, it also explains why an officer of the Indian Army was allowed to be beaten up and humiliated not only by the interrogators, but also the JCOs (Chotte Singh), the sentries and the worst of all by the traitor like gunner Aya Singh, that too in the presence of the interrogators, called brother officers of the same army. It may be said here that I was not only one to suffer such degradation at the hands of the traitors, there must have been similar incidents before and after my arrest. And this must be a singular example in the Armed Forces of any nation, so far, where an officer is beaten up by an other rank in the presence of other officers of the same army. And this was how the identification parade was carried out!

Since it was known to the authorities concerned that there was no evidence to corroborate their fake stories termed as "confessions", they resorted to the tactics of offering the release of any particular victim, if he turned an approver!

Major Gen Kaul was seemingly appointed as the DMO when he was already the DMI. Both these appointments are equal in importance and status. So the only reason for such a hasty change was that Maj. Gen. Kaul had smelled the truth of the case at one particular stage, from where he thought it unwise to correct it for fear of admonition. But he apprehended at the same time that the spy scandal may boomerang at any stage. Hence he wanted to be out of it. The same was not difficult for him to achieve, as he was already in the good books of the Chief. Maj. Gen. Kaul was also close to the Army Chief because of his brother, who once was an ambassador (Mr TN Kaul) in Russia. The Chief had served under the Ambassador as a military attache.

And since it is a tradition in the Indian army to place a sacrificial goat, Major Gen. K. Gauri Shanker was appointed as the DMI. Some officials of the Intelligence Directorate came out openly to take undue advantage of the situation created by the interrogators. They tried to implicate the new DMI in the same mudpool where most of us, who had served under him or his Division, were being drowned. Brigadier PM Pasricha tried to pressurise Major Midha, when the latter was confined at Udhampur, to implicate the DMI. He was offered freedom, in exchange as a reward!

The authorities concerned aimed at and succeeded in confining me in complete isolation where the voice raised in protest was subdued within the four wall of the cell. By the time I was taken out from the dungeon and again confined at Nagrota, I was only a "human wreck", physically as well mentally. Even in that condition, I did try to raise my voice. But to my horror, I found they had already done away with the media, through which I could communicate my feelings. They had created a situation by maligning me through false propaganda so that everyone had become deeply prejudiced. Therefore, my attempts to bring out the truth were met with only failure. Instead I had to face a wave of hate and hostility. Threats of killing me and declaring that I was trying to escape were given to me. My constitutional rights the rights which were due to me under the Army Act and Army Rules were all violated openly. This certainly was the result of biased minds who were directed from the higher command advised by the interrogating team, of which Major Jolly was the head!

By now (the time when Maj. Gen. Kaul had sensed the truth) the MI Directorate was probably aware about the true position of the case (not that Jolly was a collaborator but that it was a mistake to have believed the gunner). But knowing the consequences that would follow, if the mistake was corrected, they preferred to hide it. The Directorate instead of apprising the Chief correctly, kept him in absolute dark.

The present Army Act is the spawn of the Indian Army Act 1911, a legacy left over by the then rulers. The Indian Army Act gave absolute powers to the Commander-in-Chief. However, the political scene that time was entirely different. As such the framer of the Act had envisaged their interests while passing the enactment.

After 32 years of Independence the only significant amendments that have so far been made are the words; "Crown"and "transportation" that have been amended to read "President" and "Imprisonment", respectively' wherever these words occurred in the Army Act.

After freedeom India became a democratic first and then a socialist democratic country. Its constitution was framed and amended from time to time. It enshrines the basic rights of freedom of an individual citizen. However, the Armed Forces of the same Socialist Democratic Republic continues till this day, to be subjected to the dictatorial Republic continues till this day, to be subjected to the dictatorial laws framed by the erstwhile rulers.

It will not be an exaggeration to term the army as a state ruled by a dictator i.e... the Army Chief, within a democratic State. The army provides unlimited powers to the Army Chief and through him the command below. And since he is the head of Executive and the Judiciary, it depends upon his discretion to violate the existing laws also, in case such laws are required to be violated with a view to safeguard his own interest or the interests of commanders below him!

Under these circumstances justice depends entirely on the whims and fancies of any commander. Because there is neither any person, nor is there any law to challenge such actions which are purely unconstitutional in spirit; which unfortunately, invariably exist!!

So justice in the army becomes directly proportional to the commander's interest, in the outcome of the case. This statement is proven in its entirety after one look at the Samba Affair.

A citizen of India, a Socialist Democratic Republic, has the right conferred to him under article 136 of the Constitution of India, against any dictatorial exploitation to seek justice in appeal against the verdict passed by a lower court. But ironically the same citizen has been denied such rights of appeal vide clause 2 of the same Article, if he joins the Armed Forces.

The only person to whom aggrieved personnel of the Army can appeal, is the commander; the same commander who initiates the proceedings against the aggrieved.

Such appeal no doubt, also lies to the Central Government, but the question arises; Is the government a law deciding body? If yes, then why have the Judiciary at all? And if no, then why this discrimination?

The Chief probably felt torn emotionally when he was first informed about the numerous spies. It was so, because the matter was projected in a manner, by no less a person than the DMI, Maj. Gen H Kaul considered to be the eyes and ears of the Army Chief, that he had no reasons to disbelieve the report. Thus, his belief about the spies was genuine. Though it was here that the mistake had been committed.

The Chief was, no doubt, failed not only by the DMI but also by Lt. Gen. Chandorkar, the then Corps Commander. Had the Corps Commander apprised him correctly, regarding the deposition made by me on 08 and 09 January 1979, he would have surely taken corrective steps and refused to sanction the mass arrests of officers and men, which took place in the third week of January 1979. I am doubtful if he ever received the letter which I wrote to him on 01 Feb 1979, giving the correct information in the case.

Even if it was in good faith, the blunder had been committed. Since he could not afford to keep the mystery of the biggest spy ring as secret, the Chief referred it to the Defence Minister.

This was his second mistake, of referring the matter. He should have made absolutely sure before reporting, that in fact the mystery of many spies was correct.

Later, realising his mistake, he spoke about it to the ladies who had approached him with a memorandum. He conceded; "...I have committed the biggest mistake of my life by sanctioning the arrests enmasse. But I cannot help it now, All those who will be found guilty by circumstantial evidence will have to be sentenced while those remaining would be set free...."

What did he do when there was not a single circumstantial evidence found against the alleged spies?

If General Malhotra could not think of any solution himself to solve the issue, he should have followed the examples set by various commanders of his equivalent rank and position in the past. A more recent example or to say a contemporary one, set by the Japanese Chief of Army Staff was before him. The latter resigned from service when only two of his officers were allegedly apprehended for espionage.

Why then General Malhotra did not follow this example, especially when such a large number of them were alleged to have indulged in espionage. And still so if he had believed the allegation to be true?

Instead of correcting the wrongs, by bringing the culprits to book, or facing the consequences boldly, he undertook a course which he probably thought was safer. He took a plunge and did the same thing to the government which was done to him initially. He applied every switch to keep the government misinformed. It was a clear breach, rather a daylight murder of the trust that the nation had entrusted in him.

It was because of these reasons that the IB was kept out of enquiring into the Samba Affair. It was due to the same reasons that the "official lips" remained sealed forever.

Every effort was openly made to establish the case against the alleged offenders. When such efforts failed, the Chief resorted to the use of Summary Power under the Army Act, and dismissed from service, most of the arrested officers, without attributing any reason for such an action.

Since the matter had come out in the open, something was required to justify their action, and to satisfy the curiosity of the public and the Press too, something was required to be done. So some of us were made the sacrificial goats at the alter of the Samba Spy Scandal....

Can any nation live and prosper on such a GUILT?"

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 |