Declassified Netaji Files: Nephew trashes crash theory

‘There was no aircrash on Aug 18, 1945. How could Netaji have died in it’

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | New Delhi | Published:January 25, 2016 1:54 am

A day after a batch of 100 files on Subhas Chandra Bose was declassified, indicating that successive governments at the Centre were of the opinion that Netaji had died in an aircrash in August 1945, Ardhendu Bose, a nephew of the freedom fighter, has rubbished the plane crash “theory”, calling it a cover-up created by Japan to help him escape.

“There was no plane crash. The British government created the propaganda (of crash). It (the crash theory) was a cover-up created by Japan to help Netaji,” Ardhendu said. He said the Taiwanese government, and British and US intelligence reports have all stated that there was no plane crash on August 18, 1945.

Ardhendu’s father Sailesh Chandra Bose was Netaji’s younger brother.

Talking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to make documents on Netaji public, Ardhendu told The Indian Express Sunday that it was part of the Prime Minister’s wider plan to urge other countries to release their classified files on Netaji.

He said the papers declassified Saturday threw little light on Netaji’s mysterious disappearance, adding that the Bose family believes there is not much information even in the remaining files waiting to be made public in India. Specifying that the family believes Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to “wipe out the memory of Subhas Bose and INA” due to their “rivalry”, Ardhendu said, “I guess lot of files have been destroyed that implicate (Nehru), and that say he (Netaji) did not die in a plane crash.”

Ardhendu, a Mumbai-based businessman, believes files in the US, Germany, Britain, Japan, Russia, Vietnam and Myanmar may hold more information on Bose. Modi, he said, realises the significance of those files and claimed that India has already made a diplomatic move to get these countries to make their files public. He said the Prime Minister had given such indications when he had invited 30 members of the Bose family at
7, RCR on October 14, 2015.

While the latest papers released indicate successive governments were convinced of the two investigating commissions, led by Shah Nawaz Khan and G D Khosla, and their aircrash theory, Ardhendu said they “did not reveal the truth” about Netaji’s death. “My uncle Suresh Bose was a member of the Shah Nawaz Commission; he had given a dissenting report.”

He also doubts that Bose’s ashes lie in Tokyo’s Renkoji Temple. “Those are ashes of a Taiwanese soldier who died of a heart attack,” he claimed, adding that the Bose family has for long sought DNA test on the ashes to ascertain the truth.

The files released yesterday note that successive governments had contemplated bringing back the ashes but, apprehensive of the political repercussions, gave up the idea.

Historians, however, reject Ardhendu’s contention and say there is no reason to implicate Nehru for fabricating the plane crash theory. “There is no existing record of the crash. I do not hold the opinion that there was no crash, but mere absence of record does not prove there was no crash,” said B K S Prasad, professor of History at Bilaspur Central University, who has researched Bose and his life for the past many years. “Why would Japan decide to create this cover-up? Is there any record? Why would Netaji seek asylum in USSR? He had already allied with the Axis powers. Do you think Netaji would suddenly disappear, never contact his family or any known person after August 18, 1945? Aren’t we denigrating a leader of his calibre by saying he suddenly began living like a masked fugitive? The irony is, once you believe there was no plane crash, you can have any number of conjectures without any evidence,” he said.

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