Shocking Letter By Col Purohit To Human Rights Commission Exposes How He Was Ruthlessly Tortured
Even as we hear more and more skeletons tumbling out of the closet in police department in Mumbai with the latest being encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma whom NIA arrested just recently, one is left totally appalled, aghast and ashamed to note that those Mumbai ATS police officers who had a direct role in framing Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit as a terrorist and in torturing him for a very long time are still having a free run! The 24-page handwritten complaint details the various kinds of torture that Col Purohit was subjected to. The shocking 24-page letter written by him to National Human Rights Commission in December 2013 which one can read from the website www.pgurus.com exposes shocking details of how terribly he was tortured for weeks by a Military Intelligence Officer and Maharashtra Police ATS team in October and November 2018 so that he could own up wrongly as being the mastermind behind terror attacks that happened in those times as in Malegaon! If what all Col Purohit has written is true then one cannot but conclude that there was a big political conspiracy in cahoots with police to portray attack on Malegaon as attack by so called “Hindu Terrorists” and all this happened around virtually the same time when Mumbai 26/11 happened in which initially attempts were made by a section in the media to portray it also as attack by “Hindu Terrorists” but Pakistani terrorists Ajmal Kasab who was caught alive spilled the beans of involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistani handlers which included some from the Pakistani Army also! Col Purohit’s case was weakened by this small yet influential section of the media which tried to portray him as a “Hindu Terrorist” who was seeking to make India a “Hindu country” instead of depicting how he was trying to expose the dangerous link of politicians with terrorists and no wonder that 26/11 attack took place just few days after his arrest! When Mumbai ATS and Mumbai police starts running after Army officers only without any firm evidence and brazenly ignores the ground reality then such dastardly terror attacks like 26/11 which left more than 200 people dead are bound to happen!
As a corollary, what we witnessed was that this serving, senior Army Officer of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel who had won recommendation card from Army Chief also for his leadership skills and had himself taken part in several counter insurgency operations in J&K as an Intelligence Officer was himself labelled a “terrorist” by Mumbai ATS and kept behind bars for more than 9 years with charge-sheet not being filed against him for such a long period! If Mumbai ATS had any shred of evidence against him then why did it take more than 9 years to just file a charge sheet. This itself proves that there is more to it than meets the eye!
Truth be told, in his complaint Lt Col Purohit says that he was brutally tortured by Maharashtra ATS officers late Hemant Karkare, Param Bir Singh (the current Thane Police Commissioner) and who was recently embroiled in a huge controversy and we saw how the Apex Court chided him for not trusting the very organization that he had served for 30 years and advised him that “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones on others” and Military Intelligence Officer Col Rajiv Kumar Srivastav alias RK Srivastav who was then based in Delhi HQ. In his heart-wrenching complaint, Lt Col Purohit also accuses other Maharashtra ATS officers Mohan Kulkarni (then ACP-Mumbai in ATS) and Arun Khanvilkar (then Senior Inspector of ATS) for brutally torturing him for weeks pre and post recording of the arrest on November 5, 2008. Even Times Now news channel had reported this shocking letter soon after it was out in the open.
How a serving Army Intelligence Officer was tortured mercilessly for years and years and for creating a fake political narrative by the then Congress regime is exposing and most revealing in this heart-wrenching letter. A bone-chilling letter written on 23 December 2013 by Lt Col Purohit reveals how the Mumbai ATS was fearlessly torturing a serving Army Officer and how he was stripped, beaten black and blue and threatened to own up a crime that he never committed. One feels most ashamed, most appalled, most aghast and most anguished to see how a serving senior army officer was is still a Lieutenant Colonel in Army was mercilessly tortured for years and years, beaten black and blue to coerce him to confess a terror crime in which he had just absolutely no role to play in flagrant violation of all norms!
Needless to say, we must admit the boundless courage of Col Purohit not to budge to the demands even after this spine-chilling torture by the assault team led by Col RK Srivastava, Hemant Karkare and Param Bir Singh. All rules were thrown to the wind in his case! His case clearly manifests that we are living in “rule of jungle” and not in “rule of law” where everything happens lawlessly with Mumbai ATS not being held accountable to anyone whomsoever and Army keeps watching everything like a mute, helpless and powerless spectator instead of coming out vociferously in his support! All the spineless Army Generals who were then at the helm of affairs at that time must feel terribly guilty and ashamed for not doing anything at that point of time to protect the dignity and well being of a serving Army Officer and for allowing the Mumbai ATS to keep a serving Army Officer in jail for 9 years without even filing a charge-sheet against him which speaks volumes for itself as to how strong the case was against Col Purohit and for ill treating him in the worst possible manner!
To start with, the manner in which Lt Col Purohit was arrested itself raises serious question marks and clearly points to the diabolical conspiracy that was hatched to ruin his whole life and his whole career! Purohit disclosed that he was picked up from Army Education Service’s Training School in Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh on October 29, 2008 by Col RK Srivastava with an order from Delhi Intelligence Head Quarters to join with them for a discussion. After issuing a movement order, they took over all his mobile phones and at Bhopal airport, Col Srivastava told him that they are taking him to Mumbai airport. At Bhopal Airport, Srivastava became rude and told him not to call any phones and threatened that they will beat him. At Mumbai airport, Intelligence Bureau officer Sanjeev Garg was waiting with a vehicle to transport Purohit. In the late night when Purohit was transported to a Mumbai interrogation centre and immediately interrogation started and within hours beating started in the presence of Hemant Karkare and Param Bir Singh for days asking him to admit to own up responsibility for the Malegaon blasts.
It cannot be lost on us that it is very clearly pointed out by Col Purohit in para 23 wherein it is stated very clearly, cogently and convincingly that, “I, the complainant further state that the officers of Maharashtra ATS alongwith Col RK Srivastav have definitely adopted illegal means and unconstitutional measures for entire investigation and have further framed the case by implicating innocents like me. The Army, subsequently has conducted a Court of Inquiry and during the same it has come to light which now stands on record that the period between 29 October 2008 to 04 November 2008, i.e. the illegal detention period of mine was actually utilized for planting evidences, by the ATS Maharashtra Police. It further, besides other documentary evidences, clearly appear that to what extent the officers of the ATS Maharashtra Police have stooped down to fraudulently compile the entire case in addition to inflicting physical and mental torture. The ATS officers and Col RK Srivastav have shown no respect for the basic human dignity even for the ladies of my family. Insult, humiliation and physical torture have left permanent scar on my mind and body, a treatment probably we Indians shall never ever dish out to our most constant and sworn enemy.”
While dealing with the genesis of this leading case, it is then pointed out in para 2 that, “I was officially arrested by ATS Maharashtra Police on 05 November 2008 at Colaba Mumbai and prior to 29 October 2008 I was posted at Army Education Corps, (AEC) Training College and Centre, Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, as student officer undergoing course of instruction in Arabic Language; ALC – 02. I am serving the Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer since 20 August 1994.”
Going ahead, para 3 of the letter then states that, “On the morning of 29 October 2008, while I was attending the lectures at AEC Training College and Centre, Pachmarhi, I was summoned by Lieutenant Colonel G.C. Mohanta, Adjutant of the AEC Centre, at around 0900 hrs, and was told that I was to go to New Delhi alongwith Colonel Rajiv Kumar Srivastav, the then Director Military Intelligence 9; (Hereinafter refered as Col RK Srivastav, Dir MI9). Lt Col GC Mohanta, handed me over with a Movement Order, a mandatory document without which no official movement of a person can be carried out in the Army, which was having destination mentioned in it as having “Integrated Headquarters of Army (MoD), New Delhi, for interaction with Military Intelligence – 20. I along with Col RK Srivastav, Dir MI-9, were to board the flight from Bhopal, when I was about to leave for Bhopal, Col RK Srivastav ordered me not to carry mobile phone with me and I was made to deposit the same with Lt Col GC Mohanta. I was carrying my Mother’s Phone then since my phones were taken by Col RK Srivastav on the intervening night of 24-25 October 2008. My Mother’s Mobile Phone, which I was made to deposit with Lt Col GC Mohanta was subsequently handed over to my wife on 30 October 2008. The air tickets for travel to New Delhi were never given to me.”
Furthermore, it is then stated in para 4 of this letter that, “The checking-in at Bhopal Air Port was done by Col RK Srivastav. After the Checking-in at Bhopal AirPort, I was told by Col RK Srivastav that we were going to Mumbai and not to New Delhi. Since I was stripped of my mobile phone earlier based on the illegal orders of Col RK Srivastav, I had no mobile phone with me to inform my wife or my mother who were at Pachmarhi about the change of my destination. When I expressed to inform my wife, I was not allowed to use the public phone both by Col RK Srivastav. He threatened to use physical force and of beating me if I tried using public phone booth. It has amounted to illegal detention carried out by Col RK Srivastav. Since I was handed over with a Movement Order for New Delhi, I did not know as to where exactly I was being taken to Mumbai and to which location. Neither did I have any official document to that effect. This act of Col RK Srivastav has amounted to kidnapping. Incidentally no movement order giving change in destination was ever served to me or given to me.”
If what Col Purohit is alleging in his letter is true then it is most atrocious and there should have been an impartial enquiry into this whole dirty saga which has enmeshed the clean reputation of the Army to no end! It is not for nothing that Col Purohit had got recommendation card from the Army Chief! It is not for nothing that 76 serving Army Officers have testified about his sincerity and integrity. Even Maj Gen (retd) GD Bakshi and Col RSN Singh who is an eminent former RAW officer as also has experience of Army have all vouched in favour of Lt Col Purohit and have spoken vociferously in his support and expressed their seething anger at the manner in which he was treated!
One feels aghast and most terribly shocked to read in para 9 of Col Purohit’s letter that, “After the initial spell of questions and answers, it was Col RK Srivastav, Dir. M19, who suddenly pounced on me from his Chair and initiated a brutal physical assault with vulgest possible abuses about my mother, wife and sister. Col RK Srivastav started slapping me without any respite and also started kicking me all over my body. As if everything was pre-rehearsed and planned the officers of Inspector level, of ATS Maharashtra police besides some constables and head constables got into action and virtually pinned me down to my chair thereby exposing my face to receive blows on my face. Colonel RK Srivastav was kicking me with his shoes on. Till now, the above named officers, especially Mr Parambir Singh who was out of this assault, along with others (officers) got into action and joined Col RK Srivastav in the physical assault. By now my shirt was removed and trousers lowered, Col Srivastav stood firm on my feet so as to make me immobile and frozen to ensure no chance is given to me to take cover from the slapping and kicking which was now taken over by Mr Parambir Singh. Col RK Srivastav and Parambir Singh then started twisting my nipples and pulling hair from my chest. My private parts (my penis) was twisted, my testicles were twisted. Hair from my private parts were pulled, I was made to face hell and nothing else but hell. The session of hitting, kicking, twisting of private parts, pulling of hair continued hereinafter for next almost five to six days. At this very moment I got in to an absolute shock and was totally shattered by this brutal attack. I was broken down to core.”
While continuing in the same vein, it is then stated in para 10 of this letter that, “The ordeal continued right till almost up to end of 03 November 2008. Colonel RK Srivastav and Mr Parambir Singh were the main individuals to inflict worst possible physical torture to me along these days with slapping, twisting of private parts, pulling hair, abusing me on my mother, sister, wife and mocking me and my condition. Late Mr Hemant Karkare, who very much was present, almost through was a part of this torture by using dirtiest possible abuses and swore words, suggesting all news ways of physical torture which his officers to include Parambir Singh and two inspectors were prompt to bring in to practise upon me. My shouts, cries, requests, every single word and sighs fall on deaf ears. Col RK Srivastav, then, on 02 November 2008 came up with an order to the ATS officials, the two inspectors in particular to handcuff me so as to avoid efforts to tie me up to the chair. From 02 November 2008 I was kept under handcuffed condition right till 04 November 2008 till around 1600 hrs.”
As if this was not enough, it is then more chillingly disclosed in para 11 that, “Through out this period of torture, Col RK Srivastav, Mr Parambir Singh and Hemant Karkare were insisting me to own up the crime i.e. the Bomb Blast at Malegaon. All these three, upon my flat refusal for owning up some thing which I not even was remotely concerned, they started threatening me and Col RK Srivastav in particular threatened me that he would strip my mother, wife and sister and make them parade naked in front of me if I did not own up my involvement in crime.”
Not stopping here, the letter further damningly reveals in para 12 that, “Mr. Parambir Singh, Hemant Karkare and Col Srivastav then started discussing in front of me, with a sole aim to terrorise me and pressurize me, that they would plant explosives at my residence either at my ancestral house or at my Army Quarters. All this while i.e. from 29 October 2008 right till my official arrest on 05 November 2008, I was not even once allowed to contact my wife, my mother, my minor son or my sister other than for visits to toilet. I was kept in hand cuffed condition tied to Chair and was beaten, slapped, abused and humiliated at will and by any and everyone present in that unknown location. I was in the state of illegal detention, kidnapped, exposed to most brutal torture both physical and mental and I was left totally broken down and traumatized.”
Moving on, the letter then reveals in para 13 that, “I was officially arrested by ATS Maharashtra Police on 0010 hrs 05 November 2008. My wife was informed about my official arrest at around 1000 hours on 05 November 2008 by one Inspector Kadam of ATS in front of me over the phone. Little was known to me about the forthcoming second phase of torture which commenced on 06 November 2008 at ATS police station at ‘Kala Chawki’ Mumbai. Now it was Mr Mohan Kulkarni, ACD of ATS who was the investigating officer of the case then. Under Mr. Mohan Kulkarni was one officer Arun Khanvilkar, Sr Inspector ATS.”
Simply put, the letter then further reveals in para 14 that, “I was taken to a room adjacent to the lock-up room, having no windows, totally sound proof and having an A/c machine. At the very entrance itself on the left hand side of the entry point close to the left wall was one ‘U’ angle firmly embedded upside down in ground and fixed with cement, similar ‘U’ angle was likewise fixed approximately 8 to 10 feet away in the straight line of the first one. I was stripped down to my underwear with A/c at its lowest possible temperature setting. I was first beaten badly using hands by Arun Khanwilkar. I was slapped, boxed and humiliated using abuses. Arun Khanwilkar then ordered all his subordinates to beat me saying aloud and I quote, “See how you feel beating a Colonel of Indian Army”. By then I was cursing myself for being alive.”
Let me say this upright: If what Col Purohit is saying is absolutely right, then Indian Army has disgraced itself by taking no action against Mumbai ATS who had the guts, gall and gumption to so brutally assault a serving Army officer and make a chilling mockery of our Army. Even the President of India should have spoken up on this. Even the Chief Justice of India should have ordered inquiry by a former Supreme Court Judge in this whole spectacle which has degraded the reputation of Indian Army to the worst possible extent and no wonder that Indian Army is now facing shortage of officers as those who want to join Army are on the decline which is definitely not a good sign for the Army!
We had only heard the then Defence Minister late Manohar Parrikar who conceded that Army had faltered and ordered them to show the records of the court of inquiry to Col Purohit which Army didn’t show to him for reasons best known to them! He didn’t want to publicly air his views but he conceded that Army should have taken a more proactive stand on it!
As we see, it is then revealed in para 15 that, “Next, I was made to sit on ground between the two ‘U’ angles, long ropes were tied on my either ankles, the other end of ropes were then made to pass through the upside down embedded ‘U’ angles and an inhuman pull was given to my legs to stretch it almost up to 180 degree forcefully with a man standing behind me kicking my back and forcing me not to lean backward so as to intensify the pain in groins and thighs. I fainted at one point of time, only to be brought back in senses using cold water in the lowered temperature using A/C.”
Adding more to it, the letter then points out in para 16 that, “Once back in senses I was beaten on my feet and palms using a wide belt. I was still in the stretched position. While all this was going on, I was trying to tell Khanvilkar and Mohan Kulkarni who was in presence of others, merely enjoying the torture being inflicted upon me, that I had been operated upon thrice on my right knee and a ligament reconstruction surgery has been carried out having an artificial implant of two screws. Naturally all my shouts and cries were to fall on deaf ears and they did. I do not remember till how long this type of torture continued but certainly it was for three to four days. On fourth or fifth day when during one of the ‘stretching sessions’ my knee give up and was swollen did they realise something was wrong! The same day evening Khanvilkar and Mohan Kulkarni got an iron pipe erected/fixed in the opposite corner of the entrance of the same interrogation room at the height of around 8 to 10 feet above the ground.”
What’s more, it is then stated in para 17 that, “Once the iron pipe was fixed, I was tied to the pipe in fly egal position all naked with thick ropes around my wrists attached/tied to pole and my ankles tied together. A thick log was held behind me at my waist level. A man pulling rope tied to my ankle used to release it on orders of Parambir Singh, Mohan Kulkarni or Arun Khanvilkar only to make me hit the log with speed and impact upon my lower back. This too was for at least on two to three days.”
As if all this was not enough, it is then further stated in para 18 that, “All this while there is just no count as on how many abuses, abusive remarks towards my wife, mother and sister were hurled by Parambir Singh and Arun Khanvilkar. Mohan Kulkarni never abused me but kept on talking and insulting my wife, mother and sister by talking foul of their characters. My objection whether in words or by my expressions was always replied by brutal beating and slapping.”
While further narrating his unending and harrowing saga, the latter then mentions in para 19 that, “During my police custody period, I was taken for my narco analysis test at Bangalore and on returning back, I was told that my father in law along with my lawyer after taking Court’s permission were there to meet me. At that particular moment I was being interrogated by Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana Police teams jointly. Andhra and Haryana police in particular was forcing me to own up involvement in Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast and Samjhauta Express blast at Haryana. Suddenly Khanvilkar entered the room, slapped me straight and threatened me that my father and law and lawyer are there to meet me and if I complain of any torture to them I would be killed, eliminated in a fake encounter by him. Similar threats were flowing from Andhra Police and Haryana Police just before Khanvilkar had entered the room.”
Most damningly, it is then revealed in para 20 that, “When I was taken to wear my lawyer and my father-in-law were seated, I saw Col RK Srivastava present their besides Arun Khanvilkar. I was allowed to talk to my father in law and lawyer for 5 minutes. Upon their departure, Col Srivastav started abusing and threatening me and I quote, “Purohit, I promise you that soon your mother wife and sister will also be put behind bars and henceforth your sons would grow in orphanage.” When I asked him not to involve my family and sons in his talk I was once again brutally beaten by Khanvilkar.”
Equally damningly, it is then stated in para 21 that, “All throughout I was told, threatened and forced to own-up the crime and every denial of mine made me face beating, abusing insult and torture. Most common threat was of encounter elimination, planting of explosives at my either of the residences and of stripping my mother sister and wife in front of me.”
What adds substance to the serious allegations made by Lieutenant Colonel Purohit is then specified in para 22 stating that, “On 24th November 2008 when I was produced in the Hon’ble MCOCA Court at Mumbai Sessions, I gathered my courage to inform the court of my physical condition upon which I was referred to military hospital INHS Aswini at Colaba Mumbai. Various tests carried out at INHS Aswini confirm the torture and trauma. I was not able to move my right ring finger and small finger. I did not have any sensation in my left wrist up to thumb. Both elbows were in severe pain and even till date my right knee is in partially swollen condition. The medical papers are elaborate about the torture. Same were duly submitted to the court.”
Above all, it is then very rightly demanded in para 25 that, “With reference to above I state that it is very much necessary and expedient to enquire into violation of human rights as stated herein, in the entire process of investigation; period during which I was virtually kidnapped and kept under illegal detention by Col RK Srivastav in connivance with ATS Maharashtra officers and how the illegal detention period was utilised by them to fabricate the entire case besides trampling the human rights by inflicting bodily harm and mental torture and also by most inhumanly and barbarically abusing the ladies of my family, just to derive hollow satisfaction of discharging of duties at the cost of truth. The officers of ATS Maharashtra Police with Col RK Srivastava of Indian Army have in fact behaved as an organised criminal syndicate while conducting claimed investigation in Malegaon blast case i.e. CR 18/2008.”
In conclusion, if what Col Purohit has alleged is true then certainly no amount of compensation whether it is 5 crore or 50 crore or 500 crore or 5000 crore can ever compensate for the endless torture both physical and mental which he faced! He was himself planted by Army to enquire into the activities of Abhinav Bharat but Army has failed to hold his hand at a time when he needed most due to which he stayed in jail for 9 years and for this Army is clearly culpable on this count! This is the worst part. The best part is: He still has unflinching faith in Army and let me candidly admit that had I been in his case I would have lost all my faith in Army just like I lost when after Kargil war in which we lost more than 600 soldiers and shortly thereafter the Pakistani invader General Pervez Musharraf who himself conceded that he had entered one night before war started 16 to 17 km inside Indian territory to boost the moral of terrorists whom he calls freedom fighters and his soldiers to slaughter Indian soldiers and was still shamelessly accorded a grand reception in India and treated like a royal emperor with a large section of media honouring him and eulogising him some even crying in joy for reasons I really fail to comprehend till now and this same section looses no opportunity to brand a serving army officer as a terrorist!