Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that she does not believe Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died in the controversial air crash in Taihoku in August 1945 and that the secret files in Russia could shed some light on the mystery behind the leader’s disappearance.
Her comments came just eight days before the Narendra Modi government is to start declassification of the files with the Centre on January 23, Netaji’s birth anniversary. Banerjee was unveiling a plaque at Netaji Bhavan on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the leader’s Great Escape from house arrest in 1941.
Three members of the Bose family – Netaji’s niece-in-law and former MP Krishna Bose, her historian son Sugato Bose (also a Lok Sabha MP), and his brother, Sumantra – were seated beside Banerjee. The three are the only family members to believe that Netaji died in the crash.
Banerjee said, “Sugato and Krishna di may believe (in the theory of air crash) but I don’t. I am not a historian. I’m speaking from the perspective of a common man. And my hunch is that he did not die in that air crash.”
On the secret files in Russia, Banerjee said, “I have no idea whether the Prime Minister took up the issue with the Russian authorities during his recent visit. But I can say for sure that it should have been done long ago. Rather, the question is: why did the government not take up the issue with Russia?”