The scion of a political family in Odisha on Saturday kicked off a row by dragging former chief minister Biju Patnaik’s name into the controversy surrounding the alleged surveillance on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s kin.
Suparno Satpathy, grandson of Odisha’s first and only woman chief minister Nandini Satpathy, alleged that it was not Jawaharlal Nehru but Patnaik who did the spying. Biju Patnaik, father of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, strode like a colossus in the state politics for several decades.
“The spying was actually being done by Biju Patnaik on the behest of his American friends. However, local intelligence gathering mechanism then had been conveyed that this spying was being done for Nehru. It was Nandini Satpathy who had then intervened to appraise Indiraji and Nehruji about this, and the same later had been corrected,” Suparno said in a Facebook post.
When HT asked if he had any evidence to substantiate his claims, Suparno said: “It is a fact. It was known to all old timers associated with the Communist party in the state. No political leader in Odisha will dare to speak about it but I am not scared of anybody.”
The state’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) dismissed the allegations as “wild and unsubstantiated”. Leaders in other parties too found no substance in the allegations.
Reacting sharply, BJD spokesperson Pratap Dev said what Suparno had said cannot be corroborated because all papers relating to Netaji was classified. Dev added what was today being printed in the media were excerpts from declassified IB documents.
“Instead of having an unsubstantiated malicious discussion in the media regarding national icons like Bose and Nehru, it should be proper on the part of the central government to declassify Netaji papers because for the past 75 years the people are looking for answers regarding Netaji. Rather, it would be a service to the nation,” Dev said.