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Mystery of Netaji's death just a click away

A website has been launched on one of the longest running political controversies - Netaji Subhas Bose's 'mysterious' disappearance.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 11:47 IST

Four young media professionals have launched a website dedicated to one of India's longest running political controversies - Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 'mysterious' disappearance 60 years ago.

Launched last week, www.missionnetaji.org is a "treat for the mystery buff as well as for those who refuse to believe in his reported death in an alleged plane crash on August 18, 1945, in Taipei", said Anuj Dhar, one of the four media professionals behind the idea.

The website comes at a time when the nation is eagerly awaiting the report of the Justice Manoj Kumar Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (probing the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in August 1945) to be tabled in parliament later this month.

"All that we have put online till now does make interesting reading. And it would be shocking if some of it turns out to be true when the report of the commission is made public," Dhar told the agency.

"Most of the write-ups on the site hit out at the government, including the Prime Minister's Office, for alleged attempts to run down 'India's biggest cover-up'."

Vinay Yadav, Arijit Das Choudhury and Sayantan Dasgupta are the others behind the website.

Dasgupta said: "Now is the time to go on Netaji's trail." He contends that the website is ready with some "shocking revelations" to the Bose aficionados across the world.

Dhar, who claims to have obtained information from the Taiwan government that no plane carrying Bose - who led a nationalist army against the British from Burma (present day Myanmar) with Japanese help - had ever crashed in Taipei in 1945, says the report of the commission that by itself would be insufficient to resolve the mystery once and all.

"The commission's report is likely to be seminal but not conclusive as the government was not kindly disposed towards the Justice Mukherjee inquiry", Dhar, who has written a book, Back From Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery, told IANS.

Responding to public interest litigation (PIL), the Calcutta High Court on April 30, 1998, ordered the then National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to "launch a vigorous inquiry as a special case for the purpose of giving an end to the controversy" surrounding Bose's "disappearance".

The court also observed, "no serious effort in this behalf (the disappearance) has been made" by the government.

It was reported, said Dhar, that Justice Mukherjee, a former judge of the Supreme Court, had rejected the plane crash theory.

The theory running against the official plane crash version has it that Bose escaped to the erstwhile USSR after the Japanese released "fake" news of his death in a crash, which never took place.

In the 1990s, after the break-up of the USSR, some Indian scholars had claimed to have come across the evidence of Bose's existence in Stalinist Russia.

However, the commission was not able to find any clue about Bose's stay in Russia as it was denied access to intelligence and security related archives of that country.

Mission Netaji's take is that the commission's report would warrant some follow-ups. "One of which would be creating public opinion in favour of pressuring our government to take up the Netaji issue with the Russian government", explained Dhar.

"The ball now is in the people's court," Dasgupta rejoined.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 11:47 IST