Netajiís dead but didnít die in crash, says report; long live the mystery

Seven years after it was tasked to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, the Justice M K Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry has concluded that he is dead but that he didn't die in a plane crash in Taipei in August, 1945 and that the ashes at the Renkoji temple in Tokyo are not his.

Justice Mukherjee's findings, which were rejected by the Government as it tabled the Commission's report in Lok Sabha today, are contrary to the findings of two earlier committeesóthe Shahnawaz Khan Committee (1956) and G D Khosla Committee (1970)ówhich concluded that Bose perished in the Taipei crash and his ashes were kept at the Renkoji temple.

But in Kolkata, Justice Mukherjee stood by his report: "I am happy with whatever I have done. Maybe the present Government finds it difficult to accept what I have said and wants to stick to the earlier Commissions' findings."

The story of the crash, Mukherjee said, was "cooked up" to facilitate the flight of Netaji and his companion (Col Habibur Rehman). "The Japanese government knew about it. The Government of India suppressed a report by the Taiwanese government way back in 1956. That report also said Bose did not die in the Taihoku (Taipei) crash. I managed to get this report from the British Intelligence," he said.

Making the average lifespan of an Indian the basis, the Mukherjee Commission concluded that Bose "is dead" but "he did not not die in the plane crash, as alleged". The ashes at the Tokyo temple, the Commission said, "cannot but be of Ichiro Okura", a Taiwan Government Army member who "died of heart failure on August 19, 1945 in the Army Hospital."

The Commission also said that in the absence of any clinching evidence to prove that "Bhagwanji-Gumnami Baba was Netaji, the question whether he died in Faizabad (in Uttar Pradesh) on September 16, 1985 as testified by some of the witnesses, need not be answered".Though the Government rejected the report, most leaders of the Forward Bloc, the party Bose founded in 1939, said they believe that Bose is dead.

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