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Two assassins, four bullets and a foreign hand: What PIL seeking fresh probe into Mahatma Gandhi’s murder says

Pankaj Kumudchandra Phadnis filed a petition insisting that a “mysterious person” was responsible for firing the fourth bullet that killed Mahatma Gandhi.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2018 07:50 IST
Ashok Bagriya
Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mahatma Gandhi,Mahtama Gandhi assassination,Nathuram Godse
Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse in New Delhi on January 30, 1948.(From HT archives)

Almost 80 years after Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in Delhi on January 30, a Mumbai-based engineer has claimed the investigation and trial was a cover-up and has requested the Supreme Court to order a fresh probe.

Senior advocate Amrendra Sharan told the court on Monday there was no proof that Gandhi was killed by a person other than Hindu radical Nathuram Godse and there was no need for a fresh investigation.

But the petitioner, Pankaj Kumudchandra Phadnis, is convinced there was another assassin and a foreign power was involved in the murder.

Speaking to Hindustan Times over the phone from Mumbai on Monday, Phadnis said he had not seen Sharan’s report but had heard that he told the court there was no proof to back the claim made in the petition.

“But it has to be kept in mind that evidence is of two types -- evidence that helps investigation and another is prosecutable evidence. So I do not know what the amicus is pointing to.”

An engineer by training, Phadnis, who is also an MBA, is a trustee of the Mumbai wing of Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing Hindu organisation.

Phadnis has distanced himself from the Pune branch of Abhinav Bharat, one of whose founders, Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, is facing trial in Malegaon blast case.

He was not the first person to raise questions over the investigation and trial into Independent India’s most-talked about murder, Phadnis said.

“In fact, a book, Who Killed Gandhi, written in 1963, raised the issue and the allegations that I have made are echoed in the book.”

The book was banned and his petition to lift the ban was pending with the Bombay high court, Phadnis said.

He also dismissed allegation that through his petition, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the ideological parent of the BJP, was seeking to clear itself of the accusation of its involvement in Gandhi’s murder.

“There is no basis to the allegation. I have been filing petitions since 2004,” he said.

What his petition says:

‘Two assassins and four bullets’

•Other than Godse, the petition claims, there is a suspicion that a second assassin was involved in Gandhi’s killing.

•Four, not three, shots killed Gandhi. Phadnis in his public interest litigation says the freedom icon suffered not three but four bullet wounds and lower courts ignored that “monumental evidence” in determining the real people behind the murder. Journalists who were eye witnesses claimed to have heard four shots, he says.

•The pistol with which Godse shot Gandhi had a seven-bullet chamber, says the PIL. Three shots were fired and four unspent bullets were recovered by police. There was no way the fourth shot could have come from Godse’s weapon. It had to be from the gun of a second assassin, no trace of whom survives in records.

•The PIL also says an examination of the “blood-stained shawl” that Gandhi wore at the time of his death would reveal the truth behind the number of gunshot wounds and expose the inherent inconsistencies in the murder trial.

‘Foreign hand’

•India’s ambassador to erstwhile USSR was informed in February 1948 that the British had organised Gandhi’s murder, says the PIL. The trial was an eyewash as it was conducted by a court under the control of the British government.

•The Kapur commission report of 1969 that examined the assassination had many lacunae and failed to look deep into the real culprits and reasons behind the murder, says the PIL.

•Also, there was no post mortem examination of Gandhi’s body.

First Published: Jan 08, 2018 18:08 IST