The government had, as late as in 1995, adopted the position that Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was killed in an air crash on August 18, 1945, even when the controversy over the INA chief’s disappearance continued.
“There seems to be no scope for doubt that he died in the air crash of 18th August 1945 at Taihoku. Government of India has already accepted this position. There is no evidence whatsoever to the contrary,” a Union Cabinet note of February 6, 1995, signed by then Home Secretary K Padmanabaiah, said.
This was among the almost 17,000 pages of 100 secret files declassified today.
The note further said “If a few individuals/organisations have a different view, they seem to be more guided by sentimentality rather than by any rational consideration.”
“The belief of these people that Netaji was alive and out of contact with any individual, but would appear when found necessary, has also lost relevance by now.”
The cabinet note was prepared for the government to take a stand on bringing the “mortal remains” of Netaji from Japan to India, kept in the Bose Academy in Tokyo.
Among the documents released was also a series of letters exchanged between the government and various official agencies, after late MP Samar Guha claimed that Bose had made a speech on Radio Moscow following the signing of the Tashkent Pact between Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistan President Muhammad Ayub Khan in the presence of Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin on January 10, 1966.
Guha and several MPs had also raised the matter in Parliament, quoting Indian and Western press reports.
These documents have been put up by the National Archives on a separate website for digital display. The Archives also plans to release digital copies of 25 declassified files on Bose in the public domain every month.
The papers declassified today contain 36 files of Prime Minister’s office, 18 files of Ministry of Home Affairs and 46 files from Ministry of External Affairs covering the period 1956 to 2013.
The documents related to the death or disappearance of Netaji, documents of the three Commissions of Inquiry into it, those relating to the Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj, the INA treasure, letters by MPs like late Samar Guha and family members and papers relating to various court cases, many of them demanding clarity on the freedom fighter’s last days.