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Bose did not die in plane crash: Mukherjee Commission
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
The Mukherjee Commission on the alleged disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has inferred that he did not die in a plane crash in 1945 and that the ashes in Renkoji Temple in Japan were not that of Netaji.

The Justice M.K. Mukherjee Commission concluded that Bose “is dead”, “he did not die in the plane crash, as alleged”, “the ashes in the Japanese temple are not of Netaji” and that “in the absence of any clinching evidence a positive answer cannot be given” to the terms of reference.

The government, which tabled the report in Parliament today, however, rejected the findings of the commission.

The views of the government were given in an action taken report (ATR) along with the three-volume report of the commission set up by the previous NDA government in 1999 to inquire into the circumstances concerning the departure of Bose from Bangkok in August 1945, his reported death in an air crash and subsequent developments connected therewith.

In its ATR, the government, however, gave no reasons as to why it rejected the report.

The ATR, tabled by Minister of State for Home S Regupathy along with the panel’s findings, said the government had examined the commission’s report submitted to it on November 8 last year “in detail and has not agreed with the findings that — Netaji did not die in a plane crash and the ashes in the Renkoji Temple were not of Netaji”.

The commission said in the absence of any clinching evidence to prove that ‘Bhagwanji-Gumnami Baba was Netaji, the question whether he (Netaji) died in Faizabad (in Uttar Pradesh) on September 16, 1985, as testified by some of the witnesses, need not be answered”.

The commission rejected various versions about Netaji’s death, including that he was murdered at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 1945.

On his death in a plane crash, it said it stood established that Netaji succeeded in evading the Allied Force (of World War II) on August 17, 1945, after emplaning at Saigon (in Vietnam) and escaping out of their reach.

“As a camouflage thereof, the entire make-belief story of the air crash, Netaji’s death therein and his cremation was engineered by the Japanese army authorities, including two doctors and Habibur Rahman (a colleague of Netaji) and then aired on August 23, 1945..,” the report said.

The Mukherjee Commission observed that “some files/documents have not been produced by the government in spite of repeated reminders”, which could have been of “great assistance” in “answering” the terms of reference.

An official in the Prime Minister’s Office had told the commission that a file which contained the agenda paper and Cabinet decision regarding investigation into the circumstances leading to Netaji’s death was “destroyed in 1972 in course of routine review and weeding of old records...”

On the DNA testing of the ashes, it said the reports received by the panel from different experts at home and abroad “practically projected a bleak prospect.”

The Mukherjee Commission was set up by the Centre following directions by the Calcutta High Court in 1998 and a unanimous resolution by the West Bengal Assembly the same year demanding a fresh inquiry to remove the mystery regarding the whereabouts of Netaji.

In the ATR, the government attributed the delay in tabling the report in Parliament to the time taken in its translation (in Hindi), consideration of the report by the government, its approval by the Cabinet and adjournment of the Parliament on March 22 this year after the first half of the Budget session.

The controversy over the death of Bose had surfaced after the announcement from Tokyo on August 23, 1945, that Netaji had died in a plane crash on August 18, 1945, the commission said observing, “however, some press reports

published from Tokyo and Taihoku (Taipei) had given contradictory versions.”

The Shah Nawaz Khan Committee, set up by the government in 1956, to inquire into the circumstances of Netaji’s death had through a majority view concluded that Bose was killed in a plane crash.

One of its members and Netaji’s elder brother Suresh Chandra Bose, had, however, given a dissenting report saying there was no plane crash that led to Netaji’s death. The majority report was accepted by the government.

Another committee, headed by retired Chief Justice of Punjab High Court G.D. Khosla, which was set up by the government in 1970, had also concluded that Netaji succumbed to injuries sustained in a plane crash in Taipei and that his ashes had been taken to Tokyo.


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