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The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose mystery: Did he end up in Russia?

Kolkata: British inquiries into Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's reported death on 18 August, 1945 concluded that it was "clear" that he was "trying to make a getaway to Russia", according to a new book.

In "India's biggest cover up," journalist Anuj Dhar makes startling revelations on the mystery surrounding Netaji Bose's death: "A declassified April 1946 note summarising the findings of the British inquiries into Netaji's reported death seven months earlier concluded that it was "clear" that he was "trying to make a getaway to Russia, his men were concealing information and Russian diplomats were speaking about his presence in their country."

In the book, Dhar claims: "Despite there being several reports alluding to Netaji's presence in Russia, the (Indian) government never asked the Soviets to state facts, much less applied diplomatic pressure to extract the truth."

Subhas Chandra Bose, popularly known as Netaji, was one of India's most prominent nationalist leaders who tried to wrest India's freedom from the British by force from abroad during the latter part of World War II. Founder of the Indian National Army, Bose was reported to have perished from third degree burns received as a consequence of a Japanese bomber jet crash in Taiwan on Aug 18, 1945, while en route to Tokyo and possibly Russia from Singapore.

Reuters

His ashes are said to have been kept at the Renkoji temple in Japan, but many dispute this version of his death.

"After a vigorous search, the Government of India did learn in 1955 that the cremation/hospital records disproved the Taiwan death story. Records further establish conclusively that the government thereafter hushed up this vital information," the book claims.

Excerpts from the book were made available to the media.

The much disputed plane crash, the absence of the body, divergent statements from people involved in the crash and sightings after 1945 have led to probes by various commissions set up exclusively for solving the "Netaji mystery".

Prominent among the commissions were the Shah Nawaz Committee of 1956 headed by Shah Nawaz Khan and the Mukherjee Commission, the one-man body headed by Justice Manoj Mukherjee, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India, instituted in 1999.

The Mukherjee commission had dismissed the air crash theory.

"One of the main reasons for Justice M.K. Mukherjee to dismiss the air crash theory was that the Japanese cremation/hospital records of 1945 vintage did not contain any reference to either Bose or any of the people claimed to have been cremated after the reported air crash," the book said.

In 1994, the Ministry of Home Affairs asked the Ministry of External Affairs for the copy of a Japanese record conclusively proving Netaji's death. The ministry responded through a Top Secret note that it had none, the book claimed.

American DNA expert Terry Melton had agreed to undertake a test of the Renkoji remains in 2001, but it could not be done as the government developed cold feet.

"Suresh Bose, one of the older brothers of Netaji and a member of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Inquiry Committee, stated on oath before his death in 1972 that his brother was alive at the time," said the book, published by Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

"The Mukherjee Commission was constrained to conclude that there was no clinching evidence to prove that Bhagwanji, a secretive holy man who died in Faizabad in 1985 with links to Suresh Bose, was not Netaji, as handwriting and DNA tests performed by government experts were negative," reads the book.

The book claims that the tests done to prove the holy man Bhagwanji (Gumnami Baba) of Faizabad was Netaji "were fudged".

IANS

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