Retired army major Ramesh Upadhyay, let out on bail four days ago by Bombay High Court, has revealed for the first time, in detail, how he and other co-accused, including Sadhvi Pragya, in the 2008 Malegaon blast case were, what he called, "brutally tortured" by ATS officials in custody.
In a lengthy interview to India TV reporter Ashwin Pandey in Mumbai, the retired army major said: "Myself and all the co-accused were tortured by police in custody. Brutal tortures were inflicted on us. We were hung upside down and subjected to 'Chinese torture'."
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Asked what he meant by 'Chinese torture', the retired major said, "We were hung upside down and water was poured on us drop by drop. We were given electric shock in our ears, fingers, private parts and nose. Oil that caused burning sensation was poured on our private parts.
"One of our co-accused had his leg broken. Pornographic audio was shown to Sadhvi Pragya in our presence. I was almost daily threatened by police that my daughter would be brought and raped in front of my eyes. I was also threatened that my wife would be disrobed and paraded."
He added: "They used to beat all of us till we fainted. They would then splash water on our face and the beatings resumed. When our limbs got swollen, they used to pour warm water to ease the nerves. We heard the sadhvi screaming in the next room. Such tortures cannot be described in words."
The retired major said: "It was difficult for us to believe that our own police was doing this to us. We have never imagined such a thing."
Retired Maj. Upadhyay said, "Some of these officials are now in the ranks of IG and police commissioner." He did not name them, but said, their names have been given to the court.
He said: "I think the then chief of Maharashtra ATS Hemant Karkare was working under great pressure, because there had been several blasts, and he wanted to show to his seniors that he has arrested people. I will not name politicians, but nothing can move without their assent."
"And whatever (Hemant) Karkare saheb did to us, God has already given him punishment. For the first time in the world, an anti-terror unit chief was gunned down by a terrorist. It was a big failure on his part. The paradox is that he was posthumously given Kirti Chakra for his incompetence".
Hemant Karkare, the then Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad chief, was shot dead by a Pakistani terrorist during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
The retired major is the chief of Abhinav Bharat Sangathan, a pro-Hindu outfit floated by late Veer Savarkar 105 years ago. After the 2008 Malegaon blasts in which seven people died, leaders of this outfit were rounded up on charge of "saffron terror", and a case of conspiracy was filed against them by the ATS.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is presently pursuing this case. Both Sadhvi Pragya and serving Lt. Col. S. P. Purohit, co-accused in this case, have been given bail by the Bombay High Court.
The retired major said, he was fully confident that all the co-accused would be acquitted, as the charges of conspiracy in the blast were "baseless".
The interview with retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay will be telecast tonight at 9 pm on India TV.