Prashant Dayal (Deewal Part: 78) Sabarmati jail superintendent Vasava called up his immediate senior to inform them about the tunnel discovered inside the jail. Every top official whom he spoke to wanted to know how many inmates have escaped through the tunnel. Vasava was in a state of confusion as he had no clue where, how and by whom this tunnel was dug from. He wasn’t even aware if any inmates have attempted an escape from this tunnel. The phones at the control room were continuously ringing. The staffs handling the control room was busy answering questions from literally every top police official from Gujarat about the tunnel. Sabarmati Jail came under the jurisdiction of Ranip Police, thus officials from the Ranip Police station too were instructed to rush to the jail. Every five minutes, the large gate of Sabarmati Central Jail would open to let in the vehicles of police officials who were rushing in after the alert message was spread. Such was the gravity of the situation that the Ahmedabad Crime Branch and the Anti-terrorist Squad were informed of this discovery too. Vasava summoned jailer Kaushik Pandya to his office and asked about the number of inmates in the prison today, even though there was a board right in front of his office where the daily record of inmates coming on and going out was maintained. Pandya turned back to look at the figures that were updated that morning. It showed 1835 hardcore inmates and 1258 petty criminals, in total 3093 inmates. Pandya quoted the total figure to Vasava, who then instructed him to conduct a headcount right away. Pandya immediately left for the barracks with his staff.

Almost every top cop from Ahmedabad Police had arrived at the prison. Vasava would salute each time one of these top cops would come in, as they were his seniors. All of them would ask similar questions like who dug the tunnel, how did they dig it, when did they do it, how come it never came to your notice. Vasava was finding it really hard to answer the same questions repeatedly and his blood pressure shot up. He was explaining it to the senior officials that a head count is happening and that once the numbers are in, they would get to know if any inmate has escaped or not. Vasava was also getting angry on jailer Pandya as it was taking too much time for the headcount. After about an hour and a half later, Pandya entered Vasava’s office only to find almost every top cop of the city seated in there. He was taken by shock on seeing all the top police officials in one room, but he composed himself and saluted them. He then looked at the superintendent and said, “Sir all the 3093 inmates are present inside the prison.” Vasava felt relieved upon hearing what Pandya had to say. This meant that nobody escaped from the prison using the tunnel. But the senior officials present at Vasava’s office looked at Pandya as if he was lying. A nervous-looking Pandya went up to the superintendent and whispered something in his ear. Vasava stood up from his chair, in a state of shock. The officials turned towards Vasava, who then looked at them and said, “It is the blast accused, they dug the tunnel, the entry to the tunnel has been found from the backyard of their barrack.” Even the police officials too stood up from their chairs after listening to it. Pandya chipped in, “But sir I checked their barracks and all the eight men are still inside their cells.” The officials were surprised and wondering that how come such dangerous criminals successfully dug an escape tunnel but didn’t escape, did they fear getting caught or it was the fear of God that prevented them. There were several such questions for which the police were to find answers for. All the top officials now began to march out of Vasava’s office and began to move straight towards the barrack where the blast accused were housed. The whole prison looked deserted as all the inmates were sent back to their cells. The inmates inside their cells could hear the sounds of the heavy soles of the police officials’ boots hitting the ground as they walked by, and they were wondering what might have gone wrong this time in the prison. It was still raining, but the police officials didn’t care if they were getting drenched but wanted to reach the site of the tunnel as soon as they can.

When the senior police officials trooped into the barrack of the blast accused men, they were surprised to see a beautiful garden being maintained inside the barrack. It didn’t look like it was a part of the prison as no barrack or area inside the jail had such a well-maintained garden. As it was the monsoon, it looked fresh and green after the showers. “Did the blast accused grow this garden?” asked one of the officials to the superintendent. He looked at Pandya, who nodded in agreement, much to the surprise of the officials. Pandya then looked at one of the guards, who quickly ran towards the gate of t barrack and opened the huge lock on the door. They came at the entrance and saw Mohammed, Yunus, Yusuf, Abu, Riyaz, Danish, Chand and Parvez were sitting inside. Only Mohammed and Yunus looked at the officials, rest of the inmates were looking down. Vasava was seething with anger, completely forgetting that he is in the company of his senior, hurled a couple of abusive words at the inmates, “You men are never going to be grateful! We provided you with all the things you asked for and this is how you give back to us! You miyas, your community is like this only!” The officials looked at Vasava, who had meanwhile realized that he should not have used such words. He said, “Sir, we went out of our way to help these men, thinking that even though they are accused inmates, at least they are humans. But these men don’t deserve this!” The officials, stood with hands on their hips, looking at all the inmates. Vasava couldn’t contain his anger and walked towards Mohammed, held his hand and pulled him up. “Get up! Don’t you have even basic manners! Look who has arrived!” shouted Vasava.