Cover Story: The Mother of All Conspiracies
It is sad that the person who asked for blood of Bharateeyas for Independence could not have his last breath on the motherland, his family was spied and his associates were treated as criminals in the post-Independent Bharat. Declassification of files on Netaji Bose by the Paschim Banga Government has ratified the suspicion about the cover up surrounding Netaji’s death and shameful conspiracy of spying his family members. Netaji was popular among masses with his revolutionary zeal. His international stature was also much higher than Nehru during the freedom struggle. He was the one who formed first Independent Government of Bharat in exile, which was recognised by more than 11 countries. Unfortunately, this history is deliberately washed out from our
memory by the post-Independence leadership. Many such conspiracy theories are associated with the Nehru-Gandhi family, but this is turning out to be the mother of all conspiracies. It is clear now that the Congress Party and especially Nehru-Gandhi family has lot many questions to answer on Netaji and other leaders with different
ideological positions. The irony is the same Nehru and his heirs claim to be the founders of democracy and tolerance in Bharat. Deepak Kumar, who has been working on the conspiracy behind this great son of Bharat, shares his experiences about the investigation in other countries and analyses revelations from the declassified files.
West Bengal Government, on September 18, took a historic step, which would make the Bharateeya history more transparent. Also we have a chance to analyse the historic legend personality better now. “Whether Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died in a plane crash or not” has been the subject of controversy from the starting.
Most of the Bharateeya research scholars, Netaji's family and foreign as well as Bharateeya intelligence agencies were unanimous on the fact that Netaji didn’t die in a plane crash. A total of 64 files have been made public by West Bengal Government, which have 12,744 pages, out of which 55 files were with Kolkata police and other 9 with the state police headquarters.
The Government had sent out some files approximately one month back to the Archives. After studying all these files, mainly three facts get highlighted. One, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had not died in the plane crash. Surprisingly, this is a fact on which the CID had collected evidences, but on the instructions of senior Congress leader and Chief Minister of West Bengal Siddhartha Shanker Ray all those files were destroyed. But the cover page and their index still exist. In fact, the then Prime Minister of Bharat Smt Indira Gandhi was afraid of going those files in the hands of opposition parties. That is why she asked Siddhartha Shankar Ray to destroy them. During 1966, the Nehru family feared that opposition parties may also come into power which may create troubles for them.
Figgess Report 1946
John Figgess, an intelligence officer, submitted his Report on July 25, 1946. The Report said: “…it is confirmed as certain that S.C. Bose died in a Taihoku Military Hospital (Nammon Ward) sometime between 1700 hours and 2000 hours local time on the August 18, 1945. The cause of death was heart failure resulting from multiple burns and shock.”
Shah Nawaz Committee 1956
This three member Commission headed by Shah Nawaz Khan was appointed in 1956. The two other members were S.N. Maitra and Suresh Chandra Bose (elder brother of Bose). First two members, Khan and Maitra, concluded that Bose had died in the plane crash in Taihoku on 18 August, 1945. However Suresh Chandra Bose declined to sign the final report. He, moreover, wrote a dissenting note in which he claimed that the other members and staff of the Shah Nawaz Committee had deliberately withheld some crucial evidence from him, that the committee had been directed by Jawaharlal Nehru to infer death by plane crash, and that the other committee members, along with Bengal’s Chief Minister B.C. Roy, had pressured him bluntly to sign the conclusions of their final report.
Khosla Commission 1970
This single member Commission headed by G.D. Khosla, a retired Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court submitted his report in 1974. Justice Khosla, not only concurred with the earlier reports of Figgess and the Shah Nawaz Committee, but also evaluated the alternative explanations of Bose's disappearance and the motives of those promoting stories of Netaji sightings.
Mukherjee Commission 1999-2005
In 1999, retired Supreme Court judge M.K. Mukherjee probed the matter. Though oral accounts were in favour of the plane crash, the Commission concluded that those accounts could not be relied upon and that there was a secret plan to ensure Bose's safe passage to the USSR with the knowledge of Japanese authorities and Habibur Rahman. The Commission observed that the ashes kept at the Renkoji temple, reported to be Bose's, were of Ichiro Okura, a Japanese soldier who died of cardiac arrest.
Two, Netaji’s family members, Journalists, officials of the Indian National Army (INA) were spied on the instruction of the then PM Pt. Nehru and after that Smt Gandhi, till 1968 through intelligence agencies. Nehru had made a team of 14 people to spy Netaji family members on 24 hours basis. The letters, came for Bose family, were first opened by CID, and if they thought it was fine then only they were passed, otherwise were kept in government files. In one of these files, a letter was found addressed to Netaji’s brother Sharad Bose and written by Lili Abegg—a Swiss journalist who worked in Japan and China as well. She had maintained good relations with Switzerland intelligence also. She wrote in the letter that Netaji is alive. But the letter was not passed to Sharad Bose by the Government. Similarly, on May 11, 1949, Emilie Schenki (wife of Netaji), wrote to Sharad Bose that ‘Netaji is alive and I pray that he will be back soon’. But that letter too was not delivered.
Third, many INA officials were under spy during those days. Pt. Nehru had made a list of all territories of INA officers for this purpose. Other state governments should also investigate this matter in their intelligence records to find out the truth. Mamata Banerjee opened these files for political gain. She did it under a three-tier strategy for taking advantage in forthcoming state assembly elections. One, election propaganda against BJP and Congress. Two, attempt to break the Forward Bloc, a strong partner of the Left Front. Third, to use it against Left Front also because it is correct that many of the senior communist leaders knew that Netaji was in Moscow. Even when I was in Moscow, I was told that Comrade Somnath Lahiri met Netaji in 1949.
Pt. Nehru and his family members ruled the country for about six decades. These 64 files expose how lusty they were for power. Pt. Nehru knew that if Netaji came back, he would not remain Prime Minister for long, as Netaji was more popular than him. He also understood that Netaji had spent 50 per cent of his political life in Europe. As a result there was a strong lobby of his friends in Europe. That’s why Nehru made it sure that no one contacts Netaji’s family members.
Since the day I started research on this subject, I found that Netaji had good relations with all types of leaders, including the Communist parties, especially with Europe and Afghanistan communists. Many of the Indian revolutionaries went Russia after taking inspiration from Russian revolutionaries. Netaji had good relation with some of the Comrades also. When I was in Moscow, I saw many files of the Indian revolutionaries who were hanged or jailed because of Russian agreement with the USA and UK during World War II. I think Netaji was aware of this fact. He actually trusted Bharateeya revolutionary Abani Mukherjee, but unfortunately Netaji was sent to Yakutsk jail with Abani Mukherjee in the same Barak.
When I was in Moscow, I found that when Alexei Kosygin was Prime Minister, an official inquiry was conducted by T Terekhov on Subhas Chandra Bose. Those files had Nos.
13/3-873-66 (30/1966). T. Terekhov was officer of the Soviet Army. When I was looking on the files kept by British Intelligence in the Archives of Singapore, I found that file no-M12 Box 273, W0 208/3812 Ref no. 1403/56 dated 15/7/1946 divided into two parts. The first part was from April 1942 (6269) to January 1947, whereas January 1947 to 1972 was the second part, which was closed in 1972. It contained the activities and interrogation by British officers’ details related to Netaji. According to those files, British investigators team was convinced that he didn’t die. It is written in the file. Only then it was closed in 1972. The file contained information about Netaji’s activities and the British officers’ interrogation reports. It was written in the file that it was closed in 1972, but some of the classified papers were missing. I saw a note in the file, which showed that Kato Kachu of Indian National Army was appointed as an ambassador in OMSK city.
On one hand Nehru restricted Netaji to enter India, but at the same time one more question raised where has the money of Netaji and INA gone? Netaji went Singapore because of Lord Mountbatten’s request and met many bank officers. But why that is still a mystery? I had seen some newspaper clippings in Singapore Archives also.
The Government should investigate where Netaji actually died, which I hope eventually will come out. At the same time, we should also find out the information about the money and jewellery donated by thousands of Indians living in South East Asia to Netaji? Please remember that Netaji government was recognised by 12 nations including Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand. While Russia had not officially announced recognition, the INA Ambassador and Embassy were in OMSK, the second capital of Russia during World War II.
Interestingly, one of the 64 files reveals that Netaji married a Czechoslovakia woman and had a daughter also, whose name was Nima. In my opinion, this is because of lack of knowledge of ground staff in intelligence bureau and poor translation from English to Bengali or Hindi. I had seen in Russia one letter written by Bharateeya leader to Prime Minister Kosigen in English. The translation of that letter in Russian was very poor, as they didn’t translate actual name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Russian. Somewhere he has written “Chandra or Bas or Ne”. If Russian superpower translators attached to PM office are so poor then we can’t expect the translators of West Bengal CID to translate accurately. She is Anita actually not Nima. His wife belongs to Austria, not Czechoslovakia.
In Japan, I have a friend to whom I had sent some questions to investigate. According to him, the Files Offices in Japan say the Plane was carrying 12 or 13 passengers only. Surprisingly, even in India according to the researchers the plane had 12-13 persons only, but no one is sure of total number of passengers. Japanese office says that 13th person’s name was “KOCHU KATO” or “KUNA TARA” or “KIKAN H”, whereas INA Russian Ambassador’s name was KATO-KACHU. Is he the 13th person on plane? Surprisingly, in Japanese documents there is no detail of the officers died in the plane crash. Therefore, the Government should make a team of RAW, IB and CBI and a team of Indian Research Scholars to investigate Netaji death mystery. Presently, our relations with Russia are changing gradually, because of the market economy. Now, in Russia no one speaks of communist regime.
If this bold step towards resolving Netaji’s death mystery is not taken by Narender Modi Government, I don’t think anyone else will be able in future to do that. And the mystery of Netaji will remain as a mystery forever.
(The writer is a researcher who has been working on Netaji for more than a decade)