Kolkata: New secret files on legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were released by the West Bengal government today and will now be open to the public.
Hidden in government and police lockers for years, 64 classified files with over 12,000 pages are on display at the Kolkata police museum. When the files are thrown open to the public from Monday, many more secrets are expected to emerge on Netaji, whose death has been an enduring mystery for decades.
"We know the birth date of Netaji but not his death date. It's unfortunate and unbelievable. The Centre has many files which should be made public," said Chief Minister Mamata Banerji.
A first look, members of Netaji's family said, confirmed what they had suspected for almost 70 years, that the Bose family was spied on by the government.
Netaji's grand-nephew Chandra Bose said: "I was able to look at the snooping files. There was surveillance on my father Amiya Nath Bose, Shishir Bose and Arabindo Bose. Why should there be surveillance on members of the Bose family and Netaji's followers?"
Scores of files have been declassified over the years, many in the National Archives in Delhi.
One such intelligence file revealed in 1997 reports that eight months after Netaji purportedly died in an air crash in at Taihoku in Taiwan on 18 August, 1945, Mahatma Gandhi had publicly said he believed Netaji was alive.
Four months after he made the statement at a prayer meeting in Bengal, Gandhiji wrote an article: "No reliance can be placed on such unsupported feeling".
The intelligence file - dated 8 April, 1946 - noted that Gandhiji ascribed the feeling to "an inner voice" but Congressmen believed it was based on secret information he got.
The file adds: "There is a secret report which says Nehru received a letter from Bose, saying he was in Russia and that he wanted to escape to India... It is probable that the letter from Bose arrived about the time that Gandhi made his public statement."
Chandra Bose says Mahatma Gandhi knew something. "Gandhi insisted that the Bose family should not perform the shraddh because there is a question mark regarding Subhas Bose's death," he said.