PM Modi declassifies 100 files on Netaji

New Delhi: A hundred secret files, which could throw some light on the controversy over the disappearance or death Subhash Chandra Bose, were made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Netaji’s 119th birth anniversary on Saturday.

The 100 files comprise over 16,600 pages of historic documents, ranging from those of the British Raj to as late as 2007, an official said, after the ceremony at the National Archives of India (NAI) here in which the Prime Minister declassified the secret papers.

Also present at the ceremony were members of the Bose family and Union Ministers Mahesh Sharma and Babul Supriyo when the files were thrown open for public view.

In addition to the 100 files, the NAI plans to release digital copies of a set of 25 declassified files on Bose in the public domain every month. NAI also opened a dedicated website to store all the declassified files related to Bose.

Modi and his ministerial colleagues went around glancing at the declassified files, spending over half an hour at the National Archives. He also spoke to the members of the Bose family.

The move came after Modi met the family members of Netaji in October last year and announced that the government would declassify the files relating to the leader whose disappearance 70 years ago remains a mystery.

While two commissions of inquiry had concluded that Netaji had died in a plane crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945, a third probe panel, headed by Justice M K Mukherjee, had contested it and suggested that Bose was alive after that. The controversy has also split members of the Bose family.

The first lot of 33 files were declassified by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and handed over to the NAI on December 4 last year.

Subsequently, the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs too initiated the process of declassification of files relating to Bose in their respective collection which were then transferred over to the NAI.

Chandra Kumar Bose, spokesperson of the Bose family and grand-nephew of Subhash Chandra Bose who was present at the ceremony, said “we welcome this step by the Prime Minister wholeheartedly. This is a day of transparency in India.”

However, he also said “we feel that certain very important files were destroyed during the Congress regime in order to hide the truth. We have documentary evidence to understand this. So we feel that the Indian government should take steps to ensure the release of files lying in Russia, Germany, UK, USA.”

He said from whatever documents “we could go through, there are only circumstantial evidence of the air crash but no conclusive evidence of the air crash.”

“Even in one of the letters that we saw here which was written by Lal Bahadur Shastri to Suresh Bose that there is no conclusive evidence about the air crash, only few circumstantial evidence,” said Chandra Bose.