By Anuradha Dutta, Kolkata, Feb 21 IBNS | 5 months ago

American intelligence agency CIA's response to a Freedom of Information request seeking records about Subhas Chandra Bose's disappearance has further deepened modern India's longest running controversy, said writer Anuj Dhar in a press conference recently organised by the Institute of Indian International Social Development (IISD), here.


The application under the US Freedom of Information Act was filed late last year by NRI Abhishek Bose, author Anuj Dhar and Chandra Kumar Bose, Netaji's grandnephew.

Demanding the declassification of 64 files related to Netaji, the writer of 'No Secrets' said CIA responded promptly to their application, while he claimed the West Bengal government gave a belated response to the RTI filed late last November.

"I have received a belated response from the CMO that my request seeking a list of the files with the state government is being transferred to the Home Department," Dhar said.
Making revelations about the documents released by the Central Intelligence Agency, he said," The documents clearly cast doubts on the reported death of Netaji. In fact, one of the CIA reports was filed in 1964, a long time after Netaji disappeared," the author said.

The application had requested for "any and all records that might indicate or suggest that Indian leader Subhash Chandra Bose was alive and in Soviet Russia, China, Vietnam, India after his reported death at the close of WWII."

Now, in its reply date January 28, 2014 to Maryland based Abhishek, the CIA has enclosed four declassified documents from its database.

Chandra Kumar Bose, who is also spokesman for the Bose family, has welcomed the release.

Anuj Dhar said the oldest document goes back to May 1946, in which a confirmation of Netaji's death has been sought from the Secretary of State in Washington DC. "The American Consulate General in Mumbai (then Bombay) wrote, 'The hold which Bose had over the Indian imagination was tremendous and that if he should return to this country trouble would result', " Dhar added.

"In a response dated July 1945, which was almost a year after Netaji's reported death in an alleged air crash in Taiwan, it was stated, 'a search of our files indicates that there is no information available regarding subject's death that would shed any light on the reliability of the reports' about Netaji's death," the author said.

Later in a report dated January 1949 the agency noted the rumour that Bose was "still alive", the researcher pointed out.

In a detailed analysis of the Indian political landscape in November 1950, a highly placed source informed the CIA that it was being said in New Delhi that Bose "is in Siberia, where he is waiting for a chance to make a big come back, Dhar noted from the documents released by the US agency.

According to him the last document released by CIA makes a most interesting reading. "There now exists a strong possibility that Bose is leading the rebellious group undermining the current Nehru government," Dhar quoted from the document, which stated the 'possible return' of Subhas Bose as late as February 1964.

Anuj Dhar, author of "India's biggest cover-up" that deals with the Netaji mystery said, "Much as we appreciate the disclosure by the CIA, I am afraid our application clearly sought the records still being held secret by the agency, not just those already declassified."

"I hope the state government finally acts on the request to declassify the files held with it, without further delay," he added.

Meanwhile, the IISD has sent a letter to the chief minister Mamata Banerjee requesting to make public all the secret files related to Netaji, immediately. The NGO has threatened protests in case of inaction.

(Posted on 21-02-2014)