Chapter 8: Swamiji Is Released
Chapter 8: Swamiji Is Released
Swamiji got his bail as expected and returned to the ashram. The court which considered his bail application seemed in a fix about Swamiji’s status as a criminal. The case by now was so complicated that both the aggrieved and the aggressor seemed to have committed crimes. Seema was still absconding, and the papers were even saying that the police had found her but killed her in an encounter as she had explosive truths to reveal which would cause political upheaval. The judge even remarked that this was a unique case and granting bail to Swamiji did not mean that he was not guilty, but there was no sound reason to deny bail. Before she had vanished, Seema’s lawyers had opposed the bail saying that he was a person of great influence and would definitely tamper with evidence and do everything to obstruct the process of justice. But these reasons now sounded hollow in the light of what the arrested conspirators had exposed about Seema. And she had fled, presumably to evade arrest.
Who is Seema? This was the question everyone was asking now. The press and TV had assigned a horde of investigative journalists to find out about Seema.
Seema Tripathi was from the state of UP, district Balia. Folklore has it that people from Balia are “Baliatic” signifying an inherent arrogance and aggression of people from the district. Seema ran away from home when she was ten and somehow made her way to Delhi. Though she did not have the means, it seems she survived the vagaries of time in Delhi to grow into a beautiful girl. The journalists investigating her found that she had been in and out of trouble with authorities but had come out of trouble without ever coming into police records. I could ascribe her progress best to her smart but aggressive character and how she managed her life through a network of benevolent benefactors.
She was no virgin. She had the beauty and charm most men find hard to resist. But she did nothing this big and could never have aimed for crores. She had fallen into a trap set by Mrs. A and now had panicked and fled the city. Where could she have gone? Not to her village, for she had never gone there, after turning her back to her family. The investigators had unearthed a lot of dirt on her which would definitely spoil her case against Swamiji.
Swamiji himself changed his story after his release on bail. He was now claiming that he had never confessed to anything and was just feeling sorry for himself and his devotees and the apology was meant for millions who had put faith in him. He regretted that he had allowed the vile woman to trap him. He was drugged and taped and that was not sexual exploitation by him. The blackmailing had begun after the first episode and they made him have sex under threat, he claimed. He was the victim of a political conspiracy and his own party members were jealous of his fame and popularity and thought he would overtake senior members and become powerful in the party. What about Mrs. A? His contention that there was no Mrs. A, and it was all part of Seema’s plan to make it look like they did it at the behest of a mystery woman. She was Mrs. A and as she did not want to share the spoils with others she had created a fictional Mrs. A so she can the biggest share. It was just a story that is why even the conspirators knew nothing about Mrs. A.
So, this is an anti-climax for all. Mrs. A was a figment of Seema’s fertile imagination. It makes immense sense. Seema is greedy and ambitious. The party members approach her with the blackmail plan and ask her to work out the modus operandi. She thinks over it and comes up with a Madam who will help her get close to Swamiji and in return, she gets the biggest share when money. Fair enough. He who contributes most gets the biggest slice of the cake. But then, if there was no Mrs. A then how did Seema again Swamiji’s confidence?
No one knew Seema at the ashram. The sleazy episodes, in fact, took place in an equally sleazy hotel room in Pahar Ganj! Swamiji never brought her anywhere close to the ashram. How did the two meet? There were still loose ends to tie up, and this case was definitely not over yet.
Now that Swamiji was back, I attended the Satsang. I do not know whether Swamiji will meet me and I decided not to try to meet such a troubled soul. After the Satsang, I bumped into Pyare Mohan and he seemed to be in high spirits.
“Kyon! Bola tha naa maine! Everything will be well and Swamiji will return soon? Well, you can see I was right.”
“Congratulations, it is so nice to have Swamiji back. I really pray for him every day.”
“All of us did. Did you meet him? He is so fond of you.”
“Pyare Mohan Ji, he must be so tired and depressed., being in jail is difficult for a saint like him.”
“That is not how he feels Rajesh Ji! He is not an ordinary man like us, he is the chosen one of god himself. Wherever these saints go, that place is blessed. All the police there and inmates are now his disciples and he held Satsang there too! See him, he will be happy. He is also free now so hurry.”
I took his advice and met Swamiji. He beamed at me and I touched his feet in reverence and respect.
“Beta, I knew you will come. Pyare told me you have been visiting regularly and asking him about my welfare. Come, sit here.”
“Swamiji, I am sorry for whatever happened to you.”
“Bhai, why do you feel sorry? What has happened to me? Nothing. See, am I not looking healthy and cheerful?”
“But Swamiji, so much bad publicity must have hurt you.”
“Yes, I am hurt. Not by the publicity but the duplicity and deception of my own party members. I have given my resignation to the party and will soon announce my exit from politics, no more dirty politics for me again.”
“What now Swamiji? The case is still not over and that girl too is missing.”
“Only He can say what will happen now, is it not Rajesh beta? The girl is a misguided soul and she came to me to teach me a lesson. I thought I had overcome my sensory desires but how wrong I was! Beta, do you know that even the greatest of sage, Menka seduced Vishvamitra. This girl was my Menka.”
“Swamiji I had visited your family in their village when the police arrested you.”
“You did? Why? How did you know where they live?” Swamiji was surprised, but not angry with me.
“Forgive me Swamiji if I did something wrong. I was deeply disturbed and could not stop thinking about you. I discussed it with my wife who is also a devotee and she told me about your wife and children. I was wondering how they would have felt about all this. I suddenly felt the urge to see them and satisfy myself that all is well with them.”
“So nice of you Rajesh beta. I am truly touched by your sentiments for me and my family. Did you meet my wife and children? How are they doing?”
I told him what his wife had said to me about Swamiji and he looked pleased. I also told him that she thought Pyare Mohan had brought her money. Swamiji grew grim.
“Yes, she needed some money but I cannot understand why so much? I send them enough to meet their monthly expenses and more. But of late she has been asking for enormous amounts and I really cannot see why she needs it.”
I remained silent and not dig deeper. I did not know the family well to understand their financial requirements and it was not my concern too.
“I shall send Pyare Mohan with some money, but she has to understand that I am not rich like Bill Gates or Ambani. What?” He looked at me and laughed. “I am a trustee and people give money for the ashram, not for my personal use. Beta, I am glad you went there. Can you do me a favor? Can you visit them again? Anyway, I was planning to send Pyare with the money. Why don’t you go? Take your wife also, it will be nice for her too?”
This was the first time Swamiji had asked me to do something for him and I could not refuse. He asked me to come in two days' time, by which time he will arrange for the money. He told me he would bear all the travel expenses for me and my wife.