Successive governments neglected Netaji mystery: Anita Bose



Kolkata: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff feels that the inquiry commissions set up to investigate his whereabouts following his disappearance in 1945 were handicapped for want of enough government support.

"I don't know how much support the inquiry commissions had received, but I think in some ways it (government) was supportive and in other ways they (commissions) also had their handicaps," Anita told a news agency in an interview here.

Citing an example, she said the first commission was not allowed to go to Taiwan to investigate the so-called plane crash because it was politically "inopportune".

"I have a feeling that the last commission (Mukherjee Commission) did not really get prompt support in terms of documents being supplied," Anita said.

"That seems to be a bit sort of lagging, but I cannot tell you beyond that what they have written or what were their personal experiences," Anita said.

Since Bose's mysterious disappearance on August 18, 1945, three commissions had been set up by the central government since 1947 to find out his whereabouts after the alleged plan crash.

Although the first two commissions supported the theory of plane crash and the death of Bose, the third one set up in 1999 did not and asserted that on that day, no air crash had taken place in Taiwan.

The Mukherjee commission's final report was submitted in Parliament in 2006 which was rejected by the Congress-led UPA regime.

Asked if she believes in the plane crash theory, Anita said, "I think it is the most likely thing. I have talked to several eyewitnesses myself, especially some of the Japaneses eyewitnesses. And by and large this seems to be the most persistent theory."

She went on to say, "I agree that he is no longer alive."

Bose was 48 years old when he disappered.

The first commission - the three-member Shah Nawaz Committee, which was formed in 1956 by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, had submitted that Netaji had indeed died in the air crash in Taiwan.

The report was hugely controversial as several people, including some of the Bose family, disagreed with the report.

The GD Khosla commission, which was set up in 1970 by Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister, had also concluded that Bose had died in the air crash.

Both the commission were severely criticised by a section of political leaders and people of the society.

The MK Mukherjee commission, which was set up in 1999 by then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, visited countries like Japan, Russia, Taiwan and studied hundreds of files on Bose's alleged death in 1945 air crash.

Contradicting reports of other commissions, the Mukherjee Commission came to the conclusion that the air crash was actually a cover-up plan on the part of Netaji to escape at the end of the Second World War.

At the conclusion of his investigation in 2005, Mukherjee had said that the Taiwan government had confirmed to the inquiry Commission during its recent visit to that country that no plane crashed at Taihoku between August 14 and September 20, 1945.

On the findings of Mukherjee commission, Pfaff said, "In my opinion the Mukherjee commission found that he was present on August 18 in Taihoku. Though they say that they don't have any written evidence. But that does not mean that the written evidence is the only evidence."

She recently demanded declassification of all documents relating to Bose after 1945 by the government of India.

Activist Anuj Dhar, who has penned "India's Biggest Cover up", welcomed the statement from Anita and said the government should now lift the veil from all the documents relating to Bose.

"I welcome her statement that successive governments were insensitive towards the Netaji mystery, although I do not agree that he died in a plane crash. Why this secrecy even after so many years? The government should now reveal all the documents relating to Netaji," Dhar told a news agency.

PTI