Is Bengal withholding some more Netaji files, ask researchers

Kolkata: The West Bengal government has declassified 64 secret files it had on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose but researchers claim that some more might have been "withheld" and have not come out.

The Mamata Banerjee government on Friday put in public domain 64 files on Netaji that were with the state home department. However, researcher and author Anuj Dhar claims the existence of more such files with the chief minister's office (CMO).

Dhar, who was the first to reveal the existence of 64 files that were sent by the Bengal government to the Justice M.K. Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry probing Netaji's disappearance, says his efforts to seek information about Netaji files with the CMO were stonewalled.

"The 64 files that have been declassified were with the state home department and were sent for the Mukherjee Commission to examine. But there are at least six more files containing crucial information with the CMO," Dhar, the author of "India's Biggest Cover-Up", told IANS.

His efforts to seek information through RTI about the number of classified files on Netaji in possession of the state government including the CMO did not yield any result.

"The CMO clearly sidestepped my application. I got only a half reply to my RTI query stating that the CMO did not have any file on Netaji disappearance. Incidentally, my query was about all classified files on Netaji and not particularly about his disappearance," said Dhar.

Another researcher Jayanta Chowdhury, who deposed before the Mukherjee Commission, claimed that the 64 files declassified on Friday do not contain at least 12 files that were examined by the commission which in 2006 had concluded that Bose did not die in the alleged air crash in 1945 in Taiwan.

"Tallying the list of files given by the Mukherjee Commission with that with the declassified files, I have found several anomalies. It appears that that at least 12 files that were examined by the Commission are not among the 64 files that have been declassified," Chowdhury told IANS, adding the "missing" files dealt with intelligence gathering on Netaji and other INA personalities.

"There are several files and documents that are not only missing but some of the documents that have been declassified do not find a mention in the Mukherjee Commission list."

Among the documents that were not sent to the commission includes a file on Netaji's nephew Sisir Kumar Bose containing details of intercepted letters, while Chowdhury also noted the "mysterious disappearance" of a letter by Sisir Kumar Bose written to Netaji's wife Emilie Schenkl posted on June 16, 1953 and intercepted July 2, 1953.

"There is a note giving details about the interception of the letter that a copy was kept and its contents forwarded to various intelligence officers but the letter itself is missing from the files," said Chowdhury.

Though he did not rule possibility of some documents still remaining classified, Netaji's grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose said the Banerjee government has no reason to withhold any files.

"We have no reasons to doubt the chief minister's claims that all files in possession of her government have been declassified. But the possibility of files being either destroyed or taken away by the centre cannot be ruled out," Bose told IANS, noting the UPA had rejected the Mukherjee Commission findings and there was possibility of the Congress playing "dirty tricks".

Another researcher and Mukherjee Commission deponent Purabi Roy too did not rule out the possibility of files being withheld.

"But, whether they are now lying with the centre, or they are with the existing state government, that only the authorities know," Roy told IANS.

The researchers, though concurred that the answers to all these questions can be answered if and when the Narendra Modi government declassifies nearly 130 secret files on Netaji said to be in possession of various departments.

The prime minister on Sunday said he will be meeting 50 Bose family members and researchers in October.

The Bose family members would also seek Modi's intervention in getting Russian and British governments for declassifying similar files said to be in the possession of their respective spy agencies.

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