Kolkata: While the declassified West Bengal government files may not provide "conclusive" proof of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose being alive after 1945, researchers asserted that the documents reflect that even the Indian government post Independence did not buy the "Taiwan plane crash" theory.
The nearly 13,000 pages of "secret' information that were made public on Friday reveal the extensive surveillance carried out on Netaji's family members, particularly his elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose and nephews Sisir Kumar and Amiya Nath.
There are at least eight files on Sarat Bose alone, and two files on the nephews, giving details about how sleuths tracked their each and every movement.
From intercepting letters to and from their Kolkata residence to maintaining records of the meetings they attended and speeches made, the Bose family were constantly under the scanner particularly in the immediate post independence era.
Researchers and some Bose family members believe that the snooping was a result of the Indian government not buying the plane crash theory and believing that Netaji was still alive.
"There are more than a dozen instances of reports claiming Netaji to be dead before the August 18 1945 plane crash. In fact in 1942, it was reported that he died in a plane crash," researcher and author Jayanta Chowdhury told IANS.
"So it is quite natural for the authorities, be it the British or the Indian, not to buy the Taihoku plane crash theory," said Chowdhury, who deposed before the Justice M.K. Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry which in 2006 concluded that Bose did not die in the alleged air crash of 1945.
Corroborating Chowdhury's claims is a document dated July 17, 1942 addressed to the home department, government of India, stating that "a newspaper Hindusthan Standard alone of all newspapers of Bengal which appeared definitely to discredit the news of Bose death in a plane crash".
Chandrachur Ghose, founder member of 'Mission Netaji, an organisation spearheading the declassification campaign, also opined that snooping on the Bose family was testament of the Indian government believing Netaji to be alive after 1945.
"The Justice Mukherjee Commission has already established that Netaji did not die in the plane crash. These classified files which reveal the extensive snooping only concretise the fact that the Nehru government too believed Netaji was alive," Ghose told IANS.
"The fact that snooping continued for years after independence is evidence of the fact that the authorities wanted to ascertain the whereabouts of Netaji."
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her address at the declassification event, also talked about inferences of Netaji being alive after 1945.
"There are mentions here about Netaji after 1945 which indicate that he might have been alive," Banerjee, who examined a few of the documents, said.
Among the documents debunking the plane crash theory is a report published in Blitz Bombay on March 26, 1949 which stated: "Plane Crash Theory Unconfirmed".
"It is not known whether the news of living Bose is based upon positive evidence of his whereabouts suspected to be in Red China or Soviet Russia or upon what is described as the negative evidence of the failure of the best brains to the Anglo American Security Services to dig up slightest evidence in confirmation of the story of Bose's death in a plane crash and subsequent cremation with full military honours in Tokyo."
One of the declassified files refers to a secret document by the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Branch Calcutta from January 1949 stating that Sarat Chandra Bose believed Netaji was somewhere in China.
"Sarat Chandra Bose gave out that he was inclined to believe from information gathered during his European tour, that Netaji Subhash Bose was alive and that he was now somewhere in China controlled by the Communist Army in China," reads the document.
Another Netaji researcher Purabi Roy too said the motive behind the snooping could be the "disbelief" of the government in the plane crash theory.
Netaji's grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose, demanding a probe into the snooping, asserted that it was time for the Narendra Modi led central government to publicise the nearly 130 files with various central government departments.
"It has been established that Netaji did not die in 1945, there was no such crash. What happened to Netaji, what role the Nehru and successive governments played in keeping at bay Netaji can be revealed only by the classified files with the centre.
"Now there is no option left for the centre but to release the files," Chandra Kumar told IANS.
Some Netaji family members and researchers are slated to meet the prime minister in October to raise the declassification as well as the snooping issues.