NEW DELHI: The Subhas Chandra Bose mystery never stops making history. This time, questions are being raised about the missing Indian National Army (INA) treasure, allegedly retrieved from the plane that was carrying Netaji on his last journey to Formosa in Taiwan. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has ordered a treasure hunt, but the investigating officials are befuddled after being directed from pillar to post. They have knocked on the doors of libraries and museums, including National Archives and National Museum, in Delhi and Kolkata, and returned empty-handed. Papers in possession of Express show that most of the cache was stolen by a minister in the Azad Hind government.
The government has launched a probe to trace the valuables recovered from Japan by the Nehru government, which was subsequently handed over to the National Museum. Documents indicate that four boxes containing treasure were brought to Japan after Netaji died, but only one box was returned to India. But even that has gone untraceable.
According to senior officials, a communication was sent by the Centre to the National Museum, National Archives and the Netaji Museum in Kolkata, seeking information on the four bundles. As per the records with the PMO, the box was handed over to the National Museum in December 1953, after a year-long deliberation within the establishment over its disposal. But when the officers contacted the museum last week, they were told that no such treasure was present in the museum. A National Archives officer also said the treasure was never transferred to the archive.
According to the PMO, former PM Jawaharlal Nehru first enquired about the INA treasure in October 1952. The MEA then raised suspicions that the treasure may have been allegedly looted by S A Aiyer, the former I&B Minister of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. The PMO record shows the treasure arrived in India on November 10, 1952.