Two of the three commissions set up by the Centre over the years to demystify the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had concluded that he died in a plane crash in 1945, but the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (JMCI) set up in 1999 did not agree with the premise.
The commission was mandated to find out if Netaji had died in the air crash, if the ashes kept in the Japanese temple were his, whether he died in any other manner in any other place or if he’s still alive.
Unlike the Shah Nawaz Commission of 1956 and the one-man Khosla Commission of 1970, both of which concluded that Bose died in Taipei in 1945, the JMCI expressed doubts over the testimonies of the crash survivors who reportedly said Netaji died because of the third-degree burns that he suffered when petrol from the fuel tank splashed on him.
The commission pointed out that if the plane had nosedived, as was mentioned by Netaji’s associate Habib Ur Rehman, there would have been no survivors.
The Mukherjee Commission that submitted a three-volume report in 2005 and had recommended a DNA test of the ashes kept in the Renkoji Temple in Japan concluded that Netaji did not die in the 1945 plane crash.
Though the JMCI had declined to accept the assumption that Gumnami Baba, a monk who lived in Faizabad till his death in 1985 was Netaji, it suggested that the plane crash was used as a cover to allow Netaji to escape. It also suggested that the Japanese army wanted to pass off the death of one Okara Ichiro, supposed to be a Taiwanese army man, as that of Netaji.
The UPA government, however, rejected the report, pointing out that it has “many weaknesses” and although it differs from the earlier committees and commissions, it does not come out with “adequate and solid reasons, justifications and grounds for coming to the conclusions”.
The home ministry found the Mukherjee Commission report conclusions “hasty and bristled with flaws”.
To buttress their reasons for not accepting the report, the MHA, in its file notings, said: “…acceptance of the report may lead to hue and cry by those who still want to bank on and exploit the issue.”
It further says, “…The report is not going to solve the mystery of Netaji’s death, on the contrary, it makes the issue more mysterious.”