Tihar Jail
Tihar JailIANS

"When I was studying, I used to hear on the radio or read in the newspapers that the Janata Party was formed in the Tihar Jail. This was strange for me that how a jail could be the origin of a political party? How is it possible that a political party can take birth or be formed inside a jail?"

"In 1981, I started my job as the Assistant Jail Superintendent in Tihar where I found the answer to my question - how Tihar Jail became the birthplace of Janata Party? I found the answer from the jail inmates and senior staff. Only then I came to know how and why the Tihar Jail turned the birthplace for the Janata Party, which once defeated the mighty Indira Gandhi, a charismatic leader of her era."

You will read many such interesting facts in a book titled "Black Warrant", which is co-authored by Sunil Gupta who served as Assistant Jail Superintendent of Tihar Jail for 35 years and journalist Sunetra Chaudhary. Roli Prakashan is the publisher of the book.

The book is based on the experiences of Gupta, who retired as the legal advisor from Tihar Jail in 2016.

Tihar jail
Representational image.Reuters File

Exclusively speaking to IANS, Gupta said: "Till the 1970s, everyone believed that the Tihar Jail was the origin point of the Janata Party. But I was surprised that how a political party could be formed in a jail. But when I joined service here in 1981, this mystery was solved as jail inmates and senior staff told me the fact".

"Though, jails across the country were filled with inmates following the proclamation of Emergency, it was the Tihar jail where high profile political prisoners were kept as it was the most secured and biggest jail in Asia. All influential leaders of the Jansangh, Swatantra Party and the Communist parties were lodged here after they were apprehended. But this proved to be her biggest folly."

He further said: "When Indira Gandhi ordered to put her opponents behind bars and under one roof, they all came together and executed the plan".

"Actually, among all those political prisoners, most reputed were George Fernandes and Nanaji Deshmukh. Moreover, young leaders like Arun Jaitley and Vijayraje Scindia were the ace opponents of Indira Gandhi. To the best of my knowledge, Fernandes and Deshmukh were the key politicians who helped form the Janata Party. Fernandes had a good rapport with both the Jansangh and the Communist parties.

"It is clear the formation of Janata Party was not possible without the active role played by Fernandes and Deshmukh," he added.

Gupta said that Fernandes and Deshmukh got together secretly with their trusted aides in the jail. Security agencies could not sense what was happening. Thereafter, people from across the political spectrum formed the Janata Party which later turned out to be the biggest nemesis in Indira Gandhi's political career.

Gupta reveals these facts in his book which will be released on November 26.