Calls for declassification of Netaji’s documents; CIA tracks Subhas Bose till 1964

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Daughter backs declassification of documents related to Netaji

Anita Bose Pfaff, daughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, today said she was for declassification of the documents relating to her father’s life and the memorial proposed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“I’m a social scientist. The documents should be declassified unless there is a danger in doing so. It is unlikely that after so many years there is a danger in declassifying it (documents),” Pfaff, who is on a visit to the city, told journalists here.

I cannot understand why the documents cannot be declassified after so many years… The documents also relates to Indian and international history,” she said.

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NGO demands immediate declassification of all Netaji documents

A Delhi-based NGO researching Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s disappearance for over a decade, on Wednesday urged the Centre for declassification of all documents and records relating to Netaji in national interest. “Our government does not want to release secret Netaji records for reasons of national security, but in national interest all these should be declassified and it is the demand of most of Netaji’s extended family members,” Anuj Dhar, a key member of NGO, Mission Netaji, and author of Back from Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery and India’s Biggest Cover-up, told PTI.

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1945 air-crash theory under cloud

CIA tracks Subhas Bose till 1964

The 56 years that Subhas Chandra Bose has been ‘dead’ have outnumbered his official ‘living’ years.

And just before you think it is about time the nation got over it, here’s something that just won’t let Bose’s ‘death’ on August 18, 1945 sink in.

Declassified documents show that even in 1964, at the level of US Secretary of State, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had reservations about Subhas Bose’s death and was mulling over the possibility that Bose might return to his homeland.

The CIA had not been talking of some sort of a resurrection. It simply never believed that Bose died in Taiwan.

In its incarnation as Office of Strategic Service (OSS), it had been keeping a close watch on Bose’s daring moves after his great escape from Calcutta in 1941.

A memorandum to the State Department on July 1946, almost a year after Bose’s ‘death’, states that “a search of our files indicates that there is no information available regarding subject’s (Bose’s) death that would shed any light on the reliability of the reports mentioned in the reference inquiry to the State Department”.

Earlier, in May 1946, an airgram to the Secretary of State dwelt on the impact of Subhas Bose’s return to India. The agent, whose name has been blacked out along with other vital details, writes that someone approached him “several days ago on the question of Subhas Chandra Bose. … (censored) … said that the hold which Bose had over the Indian imagination was tremendous and that if he should return to the country trouble would result which in his judgement would be extremely difficult to quell.”

“According to … (censored) … it should be reasonably easy to establish beyond the shadow of a doubt whether Bose is dead or alive.”

Originating in Bombay, the airgram was received in Washington D C on June 3, 1946, at 2.13 pm. It concludes saying: “If the (State) Department could furnish any information on this subject (Bose’s death), it would be most helpful to this Consulate General … (censored) … positive proof of some kind that Bose is dead would be most interesting.”

However, it is the documents of the 1964 vintage that are most astonishing. That the CIA should even discuss Subhas’ ‘return’ in the 20th year of his ‘death’ is quite astonishing. Dated February 27, 1964 and heavily censored, this particular document just about manages to import the crux of the matter.

It is a memorandum for “Chief, … (censored) …” and the sender is Deputy Director of Security. The subject has been blacked out but Subhas Bose’s name appears in ink. The document reads as follows:

1. Reference is made to your telephonic request of 19 February 1964 that the Subject be interviewed by a representative of this office.

2. Attached is the report of the interview conducted on 27 February 1964 at Washington D C. No further action will be taken in this matter unless requested by you.

The document carries the following attachments:

“At Washington D C :

On February 26, 1964 at approximately 1345 hours, …(censored)…was interviewed…(censored)…? …(censored)… relate a story concerning the possible return of one Subas (or Subhas) Chandra Bose. This individual is a former deposed president of the Indian National Congress, 1938-39, and is believed to have died in an airplane crash after the war. However, there now exists a strong possibility that BOSE is leading the religious group undermining the current Nehru Government.”

“Subject desired that his story be presented to the proper persons in the agency for evaluation and to alert those concerned of the previously mentioned possibility. Subject also advised the [sic]…(censored)… was a former member of the British Counter Intelligence Corps and could provide some factual information regarding BOSE and his operations with the Indian National Army during World War II.

“SUBJECT was dressed neatly in a designer suit and his conversation were intelligent. He did not appear to be alarmed or emotional about his story and was merely offering it as a guide to the Central Intelligence Agency for whatever action they deemed advisable”.

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