Papers Hidden From Bose's Brother

The British Intelligence note, however, hints that the Soviets could be bluffing. It says the DIB  (Director of Intelligence Branch) “recognises, of course, the possibility that the Russians are circulating the story for reasons of their own, for we know that they did this in at least one instance in Persia”.

Published: 07th December 2014 10:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th December 2014 10:21 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: The British Intelligence note, however, hints that the Soviets could be bluffing. It says the DIB  (Director of Intelligence Branch) “recognises, of course, the possibility that the Russians are circulating the story for reasons of their own, for we know that they did this in at least one instance in Persia”.

British investigators carried out their own probe to find the details related to Netaji’s death. A copy of telegram from the UK mission in Japan, sent to Secretary Security Service on July 29, 1946, said Japanese officers interrogated confirmed that Bose died in plane crash.

“As result series of interrogation just completed, it is confirmed as certain that SC Bose died in Taihoku military hospital sometime between 1900 and 2000 hours local time on August 18, 1945 of heart failure resulting from multiple burns and shock.”

Persons interrogated—“Lieutenant Colonel Nonogaki and Sakai, passengers in plane which crashed on Taihoku airfield at about 1430 hours local time.”

Subhas 1.JPG

“Lt Col Shibuya, Takamiya and Miuya, all staff officers in Taihoku at the time of accident, who received original report and made arrangements for cremation of body and subsequent disposal of ashes through second Lt medical Tsuruta, M O who attended to Bose and was with him from the time he was brought into hospital until his death about 4 hours later. He issued death certificate same evening and saw body put in coffin,” said the telegram.

But, there is another conflicting report about the time of his death. Taneyoshi Yoshimi affidavit part of file no Sr.11 says Bose died around 2300 hours.

“The news of death of Chandra Bose was kept a secret, and me and my staff were warned not to divulge that we know who it was that had died,” Yoshimi affidavit said.

When Subhas Chandra Bose fled to Moscow en route Kabul to escape arrest by British Police, he had stayed with Uttam Chand Malhotra in the Afghan capital. Malhotra identified Bose as the sadhu in Shoulmari Ashram, reveals around 31 files of Intelligence Branch West Bengal during the period 1963-64.

“The Subhasbadi Janata, Falakata brought down Uttam Chand Malhotra—one time host of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Kabul—and Biswajit Dutt (E.D) of Calcutta and arranged a public meeting at Falakata on 14.2.1963 to give a momentum to their agitation with demands for fixing the identity of the “sadhu” of Shoulmari Ashram. In this meeting, all the speakers declared that ‘sadhu’ was none but Subhas Chandra Bose,” extracts from Intelligence Branch weekly report dated February 14, 1963 stated.


Intelligence files reveal that round the clock surveillance was mounted on the ashram in Cooch Behar after alleged reports that the head priest was none other than Netaji. Another intelligence cable warned that Subhas Badi Janata is demonstrating, demanding that the “present government should step down to make room for him (Sadhu of Shoulmari Ashram) to establish the Azad Hind government.”

File No. 762-61/MF reveals that spies were deployed to keep a watch on ashram visitors and the report was then sent to the government. “He (Sadhu) takes all precautionary measures so that his identity is not disclosed... The sadhu always stays under the cover of smoke apparently to avoid snaps from camera... He is not a preceptor and does not give mantra to anybody nor has he got any devotee in the truest sense. Sreemat Saradanandji is not a Sadhu either in truest sense of the term and ashram is not an ashram of the type usually meant by the term,” another secret intelligence note added.

Intelligence spotters tried to take a picture of Sadhu to ascertain his true identity but were prevented.

An intelligence note dated September 11, 1964, from the file No. 762-61, Part VII says, “He (Sadhu) is seen to handle everything with towel or handkerchief in hand as a cover so that no direct impression of his finger or palm can be reflected on them. However, attempt is being made to get his finger prints.”

The government has also declassified all the documents related to Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry. One file, JMCI/54/2000, contains affidavit from Jarnail Singh, Joint Secretary PMO, who claimed that some files were destroyed by PMO. Interestingly, Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister when these files were weeded out.

Singh said File No. 12 (226)/56-PM, which allegedly contained documents for Cabinet’s decision regarding “investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Subhas Chandra Bose, were destroyed in 1972 in the course of routine review/weeding out of old records done as per extant rules, without retaining any copy of the file in the PMO”.

There is no clarification as to why such a top secret file with historical importance was destroyed. Singh further stated that the “documents of another File, No.23 (156)/51-P.M. were destroyed in 1969 and no copy of the documents destroyed was retained in the PM office.”

Singh said two files went missing from PMO. “File 2 (381)/60-66-PM opened in 1960 dealing with the proposal of bringing Subhas Chandra Bose’s ashes from Tokyo and for putting up a memorial for him in front of the Red Fort in Delhi is not traceable inspite of renewed efforts.” File No. 2(64) / 66 -70-PM Vo1.VI regarding death of Netaji-Appointment of Enquiry committee to go into circumstances of death is also not traceable inspite of renewed efforts,” Jarnail Singh affidavit stated.

The PMO has enclosed a copy of files destroyed or recorded. It appears only three files were destroyed in 1972. Besides Netaji’s file, two other files were:

1. Law relating to copyright—legislation

2. National Book trust—establishment.

 It is beyond comprehension that how Netaji file was clubbed with these two insignificant files. More interestingly, these two files were destroyed on January 21, 1972, while only one file, that too of Netaji, was destroyed on March 6, 1972. No other files were taken out from PMO that fateful day to weed out, the affidavit stated.

Documents in the file No. 4/11/70 (K)/ NC suggests that Netaji’s elder brother, Suresh Chandra Bose, refused to sign on the three-member committee report headed by Shah Nawaz Khan, a minister in the Nehru Cabinet and a former officer in the Indian National Army. A detailed study of the documents show that there was friction over the conclusion in the report over Netaji’s death. It’s obvious that Suresh Chandra Bose was refusing to sign on the dotted line which later excalated to a public furore. Besides Shah Nawaz, Suresh Chandra Bose and SN Maitra were two other members of the committee. The documents in the file reveal that Suresh Chandra even accused Shah Nawaz of withholding some documents from him during the enquiry. And, Shah Nawaz accused Suresh Chandra of usual outbursts and false allegations. Suresh Chandra was angry with Shah Nawaz for allegedly giving an interview to a newspaper on August 9, 1956, claiming that the enquiry concluded that Netaji died in the plane crash.

“It is a mystery to me as to why in this announcement you did not remain content only with your findings, but went to the extent of justifying the same by introducing details, some of which, however, to my knowledge, appear to be incorrect, but, if correct, have been intentionally withheld from me, e.g. examination of military hospital records and those regarding funerals,” Suresh Chandra wrote to Shah Nawaz on August 10, 1956.

He further contradicted Shah Nawaz for omitting certain important parts from the British and American intelligence.

“As you have introduced the names of British and American Intelligence Services in this brief announcement of yours, you have intentionally omitted to record what their finding was, because it did not support your view.”

The papers further quotes him saying, “The evidence on record shows that from the time of the announcement of the Japanese that Netaji died in a plane crash, they believed it to be a hoax, that it was a cleverly conceived master deception plan on the part of Japanese and others and that Netaji was living and hiding somewhere,” Suresh Chandra wrote.

He also asked the Shah Nawaz committee to provide him with some more documents saying it was a legitimate demand and Nawaz had no rights to withhold them.

Shah Nawaz, in his reply on August 14, 1956, countered Suresh Chandra’s allegation saying it was “his (Suresh Chandra’s) usual outbursts of false allegations and insinuations against the other members of the committee.”

However, Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru in his letter to Suresh Chandra Bose on August 13, 1956, defended Shah Nawaz saying he did not leak the finding of the report and perhaps some clerk in the Prime Minister’s Office may have done it. Nehru said he enquired in the matter and found that Shah Nawaz made no such announcements and in fact he (Shah Nawaz) did not even know of this item.

“As a matter of fact, the report was submitted to me many days before that announcement in the press. It would appear that the reference in the press was some kind of an intelligence guess by some reporter or some clerk in our office here. Obviously, the chairman of the enquiry committee had nothing to do with it,” Nehru wrote to Suresh Chandra Bose, defending his minister.    

A little known fact surrounding Netaji’s disappearance is that treasure was found in the aircraft that had crashed over Formosa, which the Indian government was keen to keep away from public knowledge.  In a three-page note signed by Shah Nawaz, Suresh Chandra Bose and S N Maitra, all three agreed that on the issue of treasure “comments should be minimum”.

“Evidence recorded by us should be placed in a guarded manner. We may state that out of the quantity carried by Netaji, a portion eventually was deposited in the National Archives. The dropping of the treasure from the plane, its charred and molten condition and identification of some item would help the report,” the note said.

It further adds, “We should state that this may be the subject -matter of a separate enquiry and this enquiry should start from the complete assets, in cash and kind and liabilities of the Azad Hind Government.”

In the coming days, as more declassified papers come into the public domain, public interest over the death or disappearance of one of India’s greatest heroes is likely to peak. The question is whether more skeletons will fall and out of which closets?


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