Top Indian spymasters including B.N. Mullick, Ram Nath Kao and M.L. Hooja played a major role in the cover-up of the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The declassified files of the West Bengal government have indicated that the various intelligence agencies were snooping on members of Netaji's family as well as his associates, primarily to ascertain whether he was in touch with them and if there were plans to reorganise the Indian National Army (INA).
The surveillance by the Intelligence Bureau and the CID of the West Bengal police was directly being monitored by the spymasters, in all probability, under instructions from the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
The declassified files have provided ample indications that Netaji was spotted in China, somewhere in the late 1940s, much after the plane crash, in which he was reported to have died. It is yet to be established whether Netaji went to China first or was captured by the Soviet forces and subsequently allowed to travel to the Communist country.
The revelations in the declassified files also pertain to the lack of effort by Indian opposition leaders in tracing one of the country's most well-known freedom fighters. If the Congress government was guilty of suppressing the true facts about Netaji, opposition leaders too cannot be absolved for failing to corner the government about the real story.
The move by the West Bengal government to declassify the files is bound to put pressure on the Centre for doing the same with files related to Netaji's disappearance, files that are with the intelligence agencies and the Prime Minister's Office. There is strong apprehension that the PMO is not being properly informed about the issue by the bureaucrats, since the files at the Centre have been "Congress-ised" and contain a narrative which suited Congress leaders and portrayed the INA leader in poor light. Often, the bogey of India's relations with foreign countries being spoiled is raised to prevent the Central government from taking any decision regarding the declassification. This bluff needs to be called and the government must not allow Congress-inspired propaganda to succeed.
The fresh revelation is certainly going to better our understanding about the mystery, bringing us more close to the truth. There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that there was no plane crash. We are likely to meet the Prime Minister on 14 October on the issue and are expecting that the government will take the matter seriously. The PM has reportedly asked some secretaries to be present at the meeting. But I would like that intelligence people should also be there at the meeting.
Though the West Bengal files are significant, these are actually "chicken feed". The real stuff lies in Delhi and in some foreign places like Moscow. Government of India has robust ties with countries like Russia and UK, and there is no reason why these countries do not talk about the Netaji mystery. What is required is sincere effort. So far, no proper effort was made in this regard.
Some academics are saying that Nehru was not aware of the snooping on Netaji's kin. But I think, the Intelligence Bureau would not have the courage to do it without the knowledge of the then Prime Minister.
Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee took a few steps to unfold the truth. But successive Congress governments failed to do anything. I would give 0/100 to Congress, while 50/100 to the BJP as far as sincerity to crack the Netaji mystery is concerned. The BJP has nothing to lose and everything to gain by declassifying the files that are with the Centre. I would like to tell the Prime Minister that we have the best chance to crack the mystery. His party is bound by its promise of declassifying the Netaji files.
Anuj Dhar, who has been trying to unravel the Netaji disappearance mystery for years, is the author of India's Biggest Cover-up
(As told to Navtan Kumar)