‘Netaji did not escape to the Soviet Union in or after 1945’

Documents released on eve of Modi’s visit to Russia, where he has promised Bose’s relatives to discuss matter with Putin

Updated - November 17, 2021 05:05 am IST

Published - December 08, 2015 07:27 pm IST - London

Letters exchanged between the Indian and Russian governments between 1991 and 1995 re-affirm that Subhash Chandra Bose, founder of the Indian National Army, did not visit the Soviet Union in 1945 or after.

The correspondence, released by veteran journalist Ashis Ray at a press conference in London, seeks to put at rest at least one of the many theories that a section of Mr. Bose’s followers have floated, namely that Mr. Bose did not die in an air crash on 18 August 1945 in Taipei, but instead escaped to the Soviet Union.

The correspondence re-establishes the facts pertaining to this on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia at the end of December.

Mr. Modi had reportedly assured a section of the Bose family that he would ask Mr. Putin if there was any documentation in Russia to establish that Bose escaped to Russia during or after 1945 -- even though the Russian government has on two separate occasions in the past said there is none.

“Mr. Modi raised this issue with Russia’s foreign minister [Sergey] Lavrov who promised to ‘look into the matter’” Mr. Ray said. “Many refuse to believe that he died in the crash and this uncertainty has continued for 70 years, despite two formal inquiries into the circumstances of Bose’s death.”

The Government of India under the Congress ministry of under P.V. Narasimha Rao made a formal request to the Russian government in 1991, and again in 1995 after a demand was made in Parliament by Chitta Basu of the Forward Bloc that it do so again. In its response on both occasions, the Russian government said that there is no information confirming that Bose had visited the Soviet Union during or after 1945 in the Central Archival Collection of the Federal Security Service of Russia or the Russian Centre for Retention and Perusal of Documents of Modern History. Mr. Ray provided copies of the correspondence to the media.

“We owe closure on this issue for his daughter Anita Pfaff and others, and my efforts are in their interest,” Mr. Ray said.

Mr. Ray also promised to “serialise” the extensive documentation that he presently has on the last days of Subhash Chandra Bose, on a website he has specially created for this from January 4, 2016, to which the public will have access.

From The Hindu archives

January 28, 1941

>Mr. Subhas Bose missing from his residence, search by relatives and friends

"He was much depressed that, at such a critical juncture, the Congress leadership had failed the country."

November 12, 1941

>Whereabouts of Mr. Subhas Bose

“It has been common talk in certain quarters in this country for some time that Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose is either in Rome or in Berlin and has entered into a pact with the Axis powers"

March 28, 1942

>Mr. Subhas Bose reported killed in air crash

A Bangkok dispatch to the German News Agency says that two leaders of the Indian community in Siam were killed in an aeroplane crash off Japan.

March 30, 1942

>'Brave son of India' - Congress leaders' tributes

"The tragic end of Subhas, while he was still in the prime of life, will cause deep sorrow to all those who knew him."

April 2, 1942

>Mr. Subhas Bose not involved in air accident

The German Official News Agency, while announcing the aeroplane crash, did not list Mr. Bose among the victims

June 11, 1942

>Netaji meets Hitler

The Berlin Radio was announcing that Hitler had received Subhas Chandra Bose at his headquarters.

August 25, 1945

>Bose dead, fatally wounded in air crash: Japanese report

An Agency said that Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose died in a Japanese hospital from injuries received in an air crash.

September 9, 1945

>Subhas Bose's last days

Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose was being brought to Tokyo as the first step in his transfer to Manchuria where he was expected to seek safety and protection from the Russians

September 3, 1945

>Pandit Nehru's views on Subhas Bose

'Japanese report that Bose was killed in a plane crash is not believed in British and American military circles'

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