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Will Sahai panel report unravel mystery behind Gumnami Baba?

Will Justice (retired) Vishnu Sahai led one-man inquiry commission’s report be able to unravel the mystery behind the identity of Gumnami Baba alias Bhagwanji whom many believed was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose? Or will the matter remain a mystery?

lucknow Updated: Sep 21, 2017 15:08 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi

Will Justice (retired) Vishnu Sahai led one-man inquiry commission’s report be able to unravel the mystery behind the identity of Gumnami Baba alias Bhagwanji whom many believed was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose? Or will the matter remain a mystery?

A majority of the witnesses, who deposed before the Sahai inquiry commission, said Gumnami Baba alias Bhagwanji was or could have been Bose, according to sources. But, making it difficult to arrive at a clear answer, some others said the opposite.

Gumnami Baba lived at Ram Bhavan in Faizabad and died on September 16, 1985. His last rites were performed on September 18, 1985.

Some also said Swami Shardanand who visited Kaithi village in Varanasi in 1952, then went to Shoulmari Ashram in Cooch Bihar and died in Dehradun in 1977 was Bose, the sources claimed.

The sources said many witnesses based their statements on personal observations, saying Gumnami Baba was Bose as they had personally seen him.

A large section of them, however, said articles pertaining to Netaji were recovered from Ram Bhavan in Faizabad.

Justice Sahai submitted his 347-page report to governor Ram Naik at Raj Bhavan here on Tuesday. The contents of the report have not been made public.

“Yes, I have received the commission’s report. Once the report is examined, I will write a letter to chief minister Yogi Adityanath and send the report to him for necessary action,” the governor said, when asked about the report.

Thirty-five witnesses deposed before the commission in person. In addition, 10 affidavits were filed by those, who were not able to appear in person. The commission treated such observations and affidavits as statements, the sources said.

The state government had set up the one-man inquiry commission on July 4, 2016 following the directives of the Allahabad high court on January 31, 2013. A petition had been filed in the Allahabad high court, saying that Gumnami Baba was Bose. The HC had asked the state government to set up a panel to ascertain the identity of Gumnami Baba. About the challenges he faced, Justice Sahai said the commission was asked to find out the identity of Gumnami Baba, who lived at Ram Bhavan in Faizabad.

He said the premise of a majority of witnesses was that he was Bose. If it was not so, then it was necessary to first eliminate the assumption about Bose and then decide the identity of Gumnami Baba.

The term of reference for the commission was to find out the identity of Gumnami Baba.

Asked whether Gumnami Baba could have been Bose, justice Sahai said ‘no comments’.