Prashant Dayal (Deewal Part-76): The police crane arrived at the spot where the mess-van had got stuck in the ditch. The crane operator and his two helpers got off and went towards the stuck vehicle and began to inspect the depth in which the wheel of the van had gone into the mud. They realized that the vehicle will have to be pulled out from the back portion. The operator went back to the crane and brought it near the van in reverse. The two helpers climbed atop it and got hold of the hook which was slowly lowered down by the operator. They latched the hook to the van. The tightened the rope that was attached to the hook and then signaled to the operator with his hand to pull. The operator lifted his foot from the clutch and pressed the lever after the putting the crane into first gear and the stuck vehicle felt a slight jot at first. It was a slow start, but upon accelerating a little more, the vehicle was pulled out of the ditch. The crane hardly went five meters when the helper shouted to the operator to stop. He then released the latch from the stuck vehicle. But something caught the van driver’s attention and he began to look at the hole in which his van was stuck. When the wheel had got stuck in the ditch, some water had collected and formed a puddle around it due to the light rain, but soon as the van was pulled out, this water quickly slid into the hole and disappeared. The crane operator saw the van driver looking at the ditch and was wondering what was he looking for in it.

Now the crane operator too got off the crane and went towards the van driver and began to inspect the hole that was left after the van was pulled out. What he saw had shocked him and he turned towards the driver with a look which asked, “Are you thinking it is what I am also thinking?” “What should we do now?” asked the crane operator. “We must inform our seniors about this,” said the van driver, to which the crane operator shook his head in agreement. The operator took out his cell phone from the front pocket. He had to wipe the water off the screen as it was still raining. He dialed a number, it was one of the senior officers at the transport department of the police. The official was not at all interested in listening to what the van-driver had to say about how the van was pulled out. As the driver was speaking, he cut him short, “You vehicle is pulled out, right? Now quickly return back to headquarters” “But sir listen to the actual thing I want to tell...” and then the van driver informed the officer about what he and the operator came across after the van was pulled out. The official was surprised on hearing what the driver had to say. He instructed them to stay put and not to leave the place. The driver then finished his call and informed the operator standing next to him about the officer’s instruction. They couldn’t realize the seriousness of what they had just discovered and been wondering what are made to wait here. Meanwhile, the helpers who had just finished tying back the rope and the hook called out to the operator asking him to leave, to which the operator signaled to the helpers to get down the crane and come and check the hole they had just discovered.

The helpers too came near the ditch. They were wondering why were they being called to show the hole that was formed in the ditch. They squatted and began to inspect the hole and saw that a thin stream of rainwater was continuously going inside the hole and disappearing to a distance. It struck to them after a few minutes that this was not just a regular hole. Expression of fear crept up on their faces and they looked at the van-driver, who informed them that the PI of the Motor Transport Department in the police has been alerted, who in turn alerted the city control room and have instructed them to stay put near this hole and not to leave. The crane operators and his helpers have pulled out many vehicles of the police from holes and ditches, but what they encountered today was a first for them. About 12 minutes after the driver’s call to the transport department, a police jeep came hurtling towards them through the slushy road adjoining the main prison wall on the outside. It was still raining and the men waiting next to the hole were completely drenched by now. The jeep was coming towards them at a faster than usual speed and was splashing water and mud everywhere around it. It stopped a little ahead of them even though the driver applied brakes at the right time, as the tyres were wet and the road slippery. A sub-inspector immediately jumped out of the jeep. The driver, operator and the helpers saluted him. Before the official could ask, the driver pointed towards the hole. The PSI went near it, squatted and checked the hole for about half a minute from every angle. He then stood up, walked a little away from the hole and called up someone. The conversation continued from sometime and no one standing by could make that who was the PSI speaking to. The PSI finished the call and walked towards his jeep. Within a few minutes, the jail sirens went off loudly.