NEW DELHI:Much of the attention has shifted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) after West Bengal declassified 64 files on Subhas Chandra Bose on Friday, but 76 files on Netaji and his Indian National Army are still locked away in the Intelligence Bureau headquarters in Delhi.
Those waiting for a closure with the declassification of 64 files by the Mamata-led government will have to wait a little longer. Apart from 89 files on Netaji — 29 with MEA, 60 with PMO — the IB has 76 files, five files and 71 microfilms, which require microfilm reader to view the documents.
Not much is known about these documents except that some may be copies of Government Communications Headquarters’ (GCHQ) intelligence reports. GCHQ is a British intelligence and security organisation formed after the First World War. GCHQ’s earlier avatar, GC&CS (as it was known till 1946), was snooping on Netaji, and his activities were recorded and stored in the British agency’s headquarters in Bletchley Park. GC&CS is learnt to have generated volumes of intelligence on Netaji and his close aides, while he was travelling to Germany, Bangkok and Singapore.
Among the files, sources said one throws light on Netaji’s travel to Bangkok in May, 1945 when he and his associates were carrying gold and diamonds in four boxes. Besides, sources said the IB files might have more information on INA members, and some files could be related to the special operation group that was responsible for surveillance on Netaji. It is not yet clear whether three Commissions of Inquiry set up by governments in 1956, 1970 and 1999 had examined the IB files while authoring their reports on Bose’s mysterious disappearance in 1945.
There is also reportedly a letter dated May 24, 1949, from Chinese national Hsiang Kuang to Amiya Nath Bose that was intercepted by the IB, in which Kuang quoted a report in a Chinese newspaper claiming that Netaji was alive and kept in a camp in Manchuria. Some files already declassified by the government had suggested another version that Netaji was imprisoned by Russians in Cell No. 45 in Yakutsk, Siberia, where over 516,841 perished under Stalin. Although the Modi government had constituted an inter-ministerial panel to review the Official Secrets Act and decide on declassifying Netaji files, little progress has been made so far. Top sources said they had not examined any files lying with the PMO in the last four-five months.