Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Netaji Inquiry Committee: Dissentient Report of Suresh Chandra Bose (1956)

The plan

It has been proved without the shadow of a doubt that as early as 1944, Netaji foresaw that the Japanese nation would have to surrender and that it was only a question of time. As the main object of his life was to continue his struggle for the liberation of India and as he could not do the same in those countries in the East, where he was then working, as they would come under the occupation of the victorious British and American forces and as for the same purpose and for the same reason, he could not continue his work also in Japan, he considered Russia to be a convenient and suitable country for his next future activities. He, accordingly, started making contacts with the Russian Ambassador in Japan.

When the time came for the Japanese to surrender, their Government expressed great sorrow at the failure of Netaji's mission and which they ascribed to their defeat and they then decided to "respect his last wishes", in whatever manner it was possible for them to do under such changed circumstances. Netaji, accordingly, requested them to take him to Russian territory. This request they could not comply with, because, they said, it would embarrass both the Russians as well as themselves, as they were negotiating for surrender and treaty terms with the Anglo-Americans through the Russians. Netaji accepted this and, as a next alternative, requested them to take him to Manchuria, which was still under their occupation and he told them that he would make his own arrangements for entering into the adjoining Russian territory. This plan was agreed upon, and, in pursuance of the same, Field Marshal Count Terauchi, the Supreme Commander of the Japanese Southern Command, who had his headquarters at Dalat, near Saigon, arranged a plane for Netaji and allowed Lt. Gen. Shidei, the Chief of Staff of the Burma Army, who had seen service in Manchuria and was a renowned General in the Kwantung army and, who knew that territory and also about Russian affairs well, to accompany Netaji in the same plane, with directions to drop both of them at Dairen in Manchuria and that General Shidei would look after Netaji, as long as he would be there and to help him in entering Russian territory and after which, the Japanese would announce to the world that Netaji had "disappeared".

Shri S. A. Iyer, witness No. 6, who was at one time a Minister in Netaji's Cabinet, has given a detailed account of this plan and has used the word, "disappeared". This plan has been corroborated by Mr. T. Negishi, witness No. 20, who was at that time the Japanese interpreter attached to Netaji and is now the General Manager of all the branches in India and Pakistan of Messrs. Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha Ltd., one of the biggest firms in Japan with branches in all parts of the world, by Lt. Gen. S. Isoda, witness No. 35, who was the Head of the Hikari Kikan in South-East Asia, a Liaison Organisation between the Indian National Army (I.N.A) and the Provisional Government of Azad Hind on the one hand and the Japanese Military Command and the Imperial Japanese Government on the other, by Mr. T. Hachiya, witness No. 32, the Japanese Minister to the Azad Hind Government, by Mr. N. Kitazawa, witness No. 61, who was at that time Deputy to the Japanese Ambassador in Burma and now a member of the House of Representatives, Japan and also by a few other witnesses. This plan of Netaji of going to Russia via Manchuria has been very satisfactorily proved by such eminent persons and has also been accepted by my colleagues.

General Isoda has stated that the plane arranged for Netaji was a brand new bomber and that its take-off from Saigon aerodrome was quite normal and which has also been confirmed by Messrs. T. Hachiya, T. Negishi, Shri S. A. Iyer and others, who were present there.

Shri Iyer has used the word, "disappeared" with reference to Netaji's departure in the plan agreed upon both by the Japanese as well as by Netaji. It is to be considered what this word "disappeared" could actually signify and what the correct word in this connection should be. The plan was that the Japanese would remove Netaji to a safe zone, so as to prevent his arrest by the Anglo-Americans, who were expected to be in imminent occupation of that territory and that, after he was safe in Russian territory and out of their clutches, the Japanese would make the announcement regarding Netaji. As the Japanese were also surrendering to the same Anglo-Americans, they could, in my opinion, under no circumstances make an announcement that they had removed alive or had otherwise helped the disappearance of their erstwhile ally, Netaji, and who was an arch enemy of the Anglo-Americans and who were naturally very keen on arresting him. So, after having removed Netaji in a plane from his theatre of activities and away from his countrymen and beyond the control of the Anglo-Americans, the Japanese duly announced that Netaji had died, as the result of a plane crash. So, under such circumstances, the Japanese had no other alternative but to declare that Netaji had died and therefore, the word "disappeared" used by Shri Iyer could only be "died" and nothing else.

As Netaji was travelling in a plane, it was the easiest thing for them to announce that Netaji's death was caused by a plane crash accident and which is obviously a readily-believable story and which was actually what they had announced.

It has been stated, that Police Officers, Shri H. K. Rai and Shri K. P. De, witnesses Nos. 14 and 15 respectively, were members of two teams, under the leadership of Messrs. Davies and Finney, that had been despatched by the British Indian Government to the Far East, soon after the surrender of the Japanese for arresting Netaji, against whom a case had been started under the Enemy Agents' Ordinance, as they did not believe the announcement made by the Japanese that Netaji had died as the result of a plane crash and they considered that it might be a hoax.

The facts and circumstances narrated above, give a very clear, convincing and readily-believable story that, in accordance with Netaji's final request to be taken to Manchuria, with the ultimate object of going to Russia, the Japanese Government flew him in a brand new bomber plane from Bangkok to Saigon and then onward to Dairen in Manchuria, Netaji's final destination under the auspices of the Japanese.

Why Taihoku?

It has been proved satisfactorily and accepted by my colleagues that Netaji reached Saigon from Bangkok quite safely and that the take-off, landing and flight enroute as well as the take-off from Saigon were quite normal and smooth. It may be stated that Taihoku was nearest to and only one hop from Dairen, without any Indian national there and very far from Saigon, which was practically the easternmost end of Netaji's area of activities and where a large number of Indians lived. As the Japanese could not possibly announce that Netaji's plane had met with an accident in Manchuria, so Taihoku would be the most suitable place for a plane accident, in pursuance of the plan agreed upon by them as well as by Netaji. It now remains to be considered that after the take-off from Saigon, what finding the evidence on record justifies.