Centre keeps two disputed Netaji files under wraps

Interestingly, documents of another File, No.23 (156)/51-P.M., were destroyed in 1969 and no copy of them was retained in the PMO.

Published: 28th May 2016 02:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th May 2016 02:57 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday decided not to release two files of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Although, National Archives of India that comes under the Ministry of Culture released 25 classified files from the PMO, Home Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs, the two PMO files, sources said contained details of some pages that mysteriously disappeared during the late Indira Gandhi’s regime.

The government decision may trigger another round of controversy. However, a senior official playing down the move, clarifying that these two files would be released in due course.

“Once the accession of files is complete following the declassification process in the concerned department or ministry, the National Archives as per the rules can make the files public within five years. So, it is not that these files are being buried but would be released soon as per the procedure,” he said. According to sources, one of the PMO files withheld by the government is related to the disposal of Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauz assets. The second PMO file contains documents related to Netaji’s birth place besides other papers. The release of files will generate more controversy as it gives out details of pages that were allegedly removed. 

Express first broke the story in December 2014 that a PMO File No. 12 (226)/56-PM, which allegedly contained documents of Cabinet’s decision regarding investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Bose, was destroyed in 1972 when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. Interestingly, documents of another File, No.23 (156)/51-P.M., were destroyed in 1969 and no copy of them was retained in the PMO.

Not a war criminal

Five days after Bose was reported killed in a 1945 air crash, top British Raj official weighed the pros and cons of “trying” Netaji as a “war criminal” and suggested that the “easiest way” would be to leave him where he was and not seek his release. A PMO file released on Friday confirmed that Netaji’s name was never included in the war criminal list.

According to MEA, Army Historical Branch of the British Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Netaji’s name was not included in any list of war criminals by the UK government after the second world war

Letter from Home Ministry in PMO file

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