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)

Appendix F

No. 414 -PMO/56
NEW DELHI
August 13, 1956.

My dear Suresh Babu,

I have just received copy of your letter dated 10th August, 1956, addressed to the Chairman, Netaji Enquiry Committee in New Delhi. I have read this and find it difficult to understand what you have written.

The Chairman, Shri Shah Nawaz Khan and the other Member of the Committee, Shri Moitra, came to see me on, I think, the 3rd August and presented me with the report of their Committee as well as the evidence etc. I enquired about you from them. They informed me that you had come to Delhi, as arranged, to help in writing the report, but had later suddenly left Delhi without any previous intimation to them. They gave me a paper also which was signed by you and which contained the broad points of agreement, on the basis of which the report was to be written.

I enquired from them if you were likely to sign the report later or send a separate note. They said that they did not know.

The report, the evidence and the other papers were handed over to the External Affairs Ministry who now possess them. In the ordinary course, the Ministry will examine these papers and will place the report before the Cabinet. If the Cabinet so decides, the report will then be placed before Parliament. That will mean its publication also. Probably the report will be placed before the Cabinet soon. It is likely to be printed.

That is the procedure, and Shri Shah Nawaz Khan and the other Member of the Committee have nothing to do with the report now, as the Committee has ceased to function. Should you, however, wish to send any kind of note, we shall consider it. I am afraid no papers can be sent away from here now. If you so wish, you can come here and examine such papers as we have.

You refer in your letter to the Chairman, Netaji Enquiry Committee to some announcement in the Amrita Bazar Patrika of the 9th August, and you accuse the Chairman of having broken the rule of secrecy in making this announcement. On enquiry, I find that he has made no announcement and, in fact, that he did not even know of this item which appeared in the Amrita Bazar Patrika. As a matter of fact, the report was submitted to me many days before that announcement in the Press. It would appear that the reference in the press was some kind of an intelligent guess by some reporter or some clerk in our office here. Obviously, the Chairman of the Enquiry Committee had nothing to do with it.

Yours sincerely,
Sd/- Jawharlal Nehru.

Shri Suresh Chandra Bose,
2, Moira Street,
Calcutta – 16

Appendix G

SURESH C. BOSE.

Telephone: 44-5959                                   2, Moira Street, Calcutta - 16,
Telegrams: "SUVASBOS".                                           15th August, 1956

Shri Jawaharlal Nehru,
Prime Minister of India,
New Delhi.

My dear Shri Nehru,

I thank you for your kind letter No. 414 -PMO/56 of yesterday's date.

I have been very much disappointed to learn that you find it difficult to understand my letter. If it be the English, I cannot claim to write it up to the standard of an Englishman. If, however, it be the subject matter of the letter, it may be due to the fact that one, who has a strong conviction regarding a certain matter, sometimes fails to understand how another could possibly hold the contrary view.

I regret, I will have to encroach on your valuable time, as my reply to the points mentioned in your letter, on the basis of statements received by you, as well as certain circumstances concerning me, as a member of the Committee, may be a bit lengthy and for which I may be excused.

I stayed in Delhi with my daughter on the first occasion from 27.3.56 to 17.4.56 and on the second occasion from 17.6.56 to 12.7.56 i.e., for a total period of 48 days, for which the Government did not have to spend anything for my board and lodging there. As she was suddenly asked to vacate her quarters, I have to shift from there at about 10.10 P.M. on 12.7.56 and a friend of mine there, helped me out of an awkward situation by giving me shelter. On the morning of the following day, when I met the Chairman of our Committee, I requested him to arrange for my stay in Delhi. He was good enough to contact somebody immediately and after my repeated requests, we were informed the next morning, viz., 14.7.56, that accommodation had been secured for me at Kotah House. As I had no idea of that place, I enquired of the Chairman about the room, bathroom and food there. He assured me that they were quite nice. As I wanted to see about it myself, after finishing our work, all three of us went there on our way home, but we were astonished to find that accommodation had been arranged in a hutment and not in the main building. I told the Chairman forthwith that I considered this to be an insult and I demanded accommodation in the Imperial Hotel, which I could justly demand, as only a few years ago, I had stayed on my own in Maidens, after failing to get rooms in the Imperial and that it was very urgent, as I was inconveniencing both my kind friend as well as myself. The Chairman said that as it was about 1.45 P.M., and being a Saturday, the officer had gone home. On this, I told him that as Government had provided telephones in your residences, urgent work was meant to be taken up from there outside office hours. Evidently, no action was taken and inconvenience continued. On the morning of 16.7.56, I enquired of the Chairman again as to why nothing had been done regarding my stay in Delhi, though that was the fourth day and I told him that I could no longer inconvenience my friend and myself. He then contacted somebody, whom I proposed to meet personally for explaining the situation I was in. At the same time, I requested the Chairman to get into touch with the Imperial Hotel. At about 11.30 A.M., Shri S. K. Roy, Deputy Secretary, informed us that a room had provisionally been reserved for me there and that he would confirm it before lunch. As there was no news till about 2.45 P.M., I phoned Shri Roy, who met me soon after and told me that after speaking to Shri Kaul, Joint Secretary, he would meet me again at about 4 P.M. In the meantime, I went to the Imperial Hotel, where I was informed that a room had provisionally been reserved for me and that they were awaiting confirmation from the External Affairs Department. Shri Roy did not meet me, as promised, nor did he send me any information. When at about 6 P.M., the driver of the staff car of the External Affairs Dept. came to enquire of me as to at what time the next day he would bring the car for taking me to the Imperial Hotel, I asked him whether he had brought any letter or news from the office or from Shri Roy regarding my shifting there. He replied in the negative.

The same morning, during our sitting in the Committee Room, I was informed by my colleagues that I could no longer sit with them, as I had dissented from them. On this, I requested Shri Maitra to send me the remaining portion of their draft report for enabling me to write my dissentient report. He promised to do so section by section, as soon as he completed each.

As dissentient judgments in District as also in High Courts are sent from elsewhere and even from outside India, I did not consider it indispensably necessary for me to stay in Delhi for that purpose, especially when after four days of inconvenience, nothing had been done about my stay there and as no asssurance had been given to me that something would be done soon. I was, therefore, compelled to leave Delhi. If your officers are callous, non-obliging and indifferent, there is a limit to my endurance.

As regards the report given to you by my colleagues, "That they did not know" that I was "Likely to sign the report later or send a separate note", I emphatically state that they did know. I am astonished to find men holding such positions, making diabolic false statements. Shri S. N. Maitra, who was selected to write the report, and who undertook to submit the draft report by 10.7.56, submitted only a portion of the same on 13.7.56, when all three of us started discussing it. He had mentioned about discrepancies in the statements of witnesses at some places in his report. I was not satisfied with the explanation given by him and I told him that there were many more of such on many major points. As such, I would have to consider the evidence very carefully and then inform them as to whether I could for those reasons, agree with their finding that the plane, alleged to be carrying Netaji, crashed and whether Netaji died.

When we met the next day, viz., on 14.7.56, for further discussion of the draft report, I expressed my regret to them for my inability to agree with their finding. On asking the Chairman as to what should be my next move under such circumstances, he told me that I would have to write a separate dissenting report, on which I remember having told him distinctly that it would be uphill work for me, as I would have to write such a report all by myself. I went further and told them that, in view of the multitude of discrepancies in the statements of witnesses, whether they would not agree with me that the plane crash did not take place and so Netaji did not die. They said they would stick to their own finding.

The next day, 15-7-56, being a Sunday, we assembled on 16-7-56, when the Chairman told me that, as I had dissented from them, it would not be proper for me to sit with them any longer, when they would be busy in writing their report. I, accordingly, requested them to send me the remaining portion of their draft report and copies of relevant papers, which I was legitimately entitled to, so as to enable me to write my separate report. In their presence, I took a few sheets of paper from the Secretary, Shri R. Dayal and asked him to send me copies of depositions of the remaining witnesses he had not given me together with all other papers, I had requested the Chairman for. I have not received any of these papers as yet, in spite of several requests by me to the Chairman, even by telegrams.

As my presence was no longer required there, I told the Chairman that I wanted to meet the officer, who was arranging for my accommodation. As no orderly was available, Shri Maitra was very good to come to the staff officer's room and to ask the new Sikh gentleman, who had been deputed to help us as a Stenographer, to take me to Shri S. K. Roy, Deputy Secretary, which he did.

I, therefore, fail to understand how under such circumstances my colleagues could make up their mind to tell a gentleman of the position of the Prime Minister of India that they did not know that I would not sign their report or that I would submit a separate dissentient report. If they did say so, as stated, I am constrained to say that it is a brazen-faced lie.

I am very much aggrieved to learn that no papers can be sent to me. I never wanted or thought of the original papers. As a member, I am legitimately entitled to one set of copies of all relevant papers. I would humbly suggest that it would cost the Government very much less by making and sending a copy of those papers to me here than by paying me the expenses of my journey from here to Delhi and back and for my stay there. I forget, however, that for poor people like us expenses do matter, but not for those in high circles, especially, Governmental ones. When the Chairman curtly turned down my request for relevant papers, I suspected that without inspiration from high-ups, he would not have had the audacity to decline the legitimate, request of his colleague. My suspicion has now been confirmed.

As regards the announcement in the newspaper referred to, it is my humble opinion, that it would be desirable to have official news given publicity by the office master in a straightforward manner, rather than remain complacent and allow its surreptitious leakage by disloyal subordinates and outsiders, as suggested by you.

Before concluding, I would inform you with due respect that as the Government has been pleased to nominate me as a member of the Committee and as it has to spend so much money and time on me and as I have spent my time and energy on this piece of work, which I agreed to undertake, I would be failing in my duty to myself, to the Government and to my countrymen, if I did not submit a report, which I consider it incumbent on me to do. I will, therefore, submit my report to the best of my limited capabilites and as you will be pleased to realise that, as I have been doing so under several handicaps, inconveniences, and want of facilities, there will naturally be a certain amount of delay, which would otherwise not have been caused and which consequently means an additional expenditure to the Government on my account. I am, however, making a very sincere and earnest effort to complete it as quickly as possible and I expect to get it ready for submission within about ten days from today at the latest.

Kindly excuse me for remarks, if any, which you may consider to be too strong.

With regards,
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru,                                                  I remain,
Prime Minister of India,                                          Your sincerely,
NEW DELHI.                                                    Suresh Chandra Bose.

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