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>>

Report of the One-man Commission of Inquiry into the Disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (1970-74)

4. Air Crash Story

4.1 In the preceding chapter a brief reference has been made to the story of Bose's death at Taipei after an air crash and to the numerous other versions of what happened to him after the war on the eastern front had come to an end and the Japanese forces had surrendered. These stories will now be examined and the evidence bearing on them discussed.

4.2 The version which claims our foremost attention is naturally the story of his death, consequent upon an air crash on the Taihoku airfield on August 18, 1945. This story was the first, in point of time, to gain currency after its announcement on the radio from Tokyo on August 23, and to receive wide acceptance. Also it constitutes a positive assertion supported by a number of witnesses who do not appear to have any motive or reason for committing perjury and who, therefore, may be said to constitute independent testimony. The story briefly is as follows:

At the beginning of August 1945, it was abundantly clear that the Japanese could not win the war, and the Allies were determined to clinch the issue and inflict an immediate and total defeat on their foes. The dropping of two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki compelled the Japanese to surrender, and resign themselves to an ignominious defeat. A message was sent to Bose informing him of the proposed terms of surrender. Bose had to decide quickly what should be his future course of action. Should he surrender to the Allies alongwith the Japanese? Should he, as the head of an Independent State, distinct from the Japanese, offer to surrender separately and on separate terms? Should he continue to fight the Allies on the Indian front and go on striving to free India from British domination? Or, should he escape to a place of safety beyond the control of the Allies and make further plans for whatever seemed feasible? After discussing the matter with his colleagues and ministers of the Provisional Government of Free India and the Japanese military authorities, he chose the last alternative. He, accordingly, asked the Japanese to make arrangement for his escape to Russian territory because he believed that Indian aspirations evoked a sympathetic response from the Russians. Bose had already attempted to contact the Russians through the Japanese diplomatic channels, but the Japanese had not made a favourable response to his request. However, now, when the Russians had made a formal declaration of war against the Japanese, to send Bose to Russia would not cause them any embarrassment vis-a-vis the Allies. Also, the war having ended, the Japanese were not going to fight any more, and Bose had become a dispensable ally. They welcomed the opportunity to be relieved of what must, in the altered circumstances, have been looked upon as a liability. No cut and dried plan of conveying Bose out of the area under Allied control could be prepared, because the Americans had laid a strict embargo on all flights by the Japanese, and in the chaotic conditions prevailing after the defeat and humiliation suffered by the Japanese, it was impossible to prescribe an exact schedule of the Journey. Bose had, therefore, to hold himself in readiness to fly immediately whenever accomodation on a plane flying to or toward Russian territory became available.

So, Bose after receiving intimation of the Japanese decision to surrender to the Allies, travelled to Singapore where he arrived on August 15. The next day he flew to Bangkok where he stayed overnight and conferred with the members of his Cabinet. On the morning of August 17, Bose and his party were taken in two planes to Saigon. At Saigon, difficulty was experienced in continuing the flight beyond. The two planes in which the journey to Saigon was performed had gone back, and it was anticipated that a bomber plane in which some military personnel were to travel to Manchuria would be leaving Saigon in the afternoon. This plane had come from Manila with and almost full load of passengers and baggage. Bose was informed that it would be impossible to accommodate his entire party, and he could at most, be provided with one seat for himself in this plane. Bose was greatly upset by this news, and sent an appeal to Field Marshal Terauchi, who was in overall command of military operation in South-East Asia and was camping at Dalat about 100 miles from Saigon. Terauchi, however, was not very helpful. After a great deal of argument, a second seat was offered to Bose. Bose hurriedly consulted his colleagues and they prevailed upon him to accept the offer. He chose Habibur Rahman to accompany him. The plane left Saigon at 5 P.M. carrying Bose, Habibur Rahman and 8 or 9 Japanese military officers who were to go to Manchuria. The aircraft left Saigon at 5 P. M. and arrived at Tourain at 7U5 P. M. It was not considered safe to travel beyond Tourain the same day, and the party spent the night there. The next morning, the plane left Tourain and flew to Taihoku in Formosa.' The flight from Tourain took 7 hours and there was a brief halt for refuelling at Taihoku where the party took a snack lunch. The pilot had observed a snag in one of the engines and this was attended to. Also some of the baggage was off-loaded because the pilot felt that the plane could not comfortably carry so much load at the take-off stage. The plane took off from the Taihoku air feild at 2.30 P.M. but almost immediately crashed on the airfield and burst into flames. The pilot and Genl. Shedei, who were inside the plane, died at once. The remaining crew and passengers were able to leave the wreckage alive but several of them sustained burn injuries. Bose and the co-pilot were, in particular, very badly burnt. The injured were taken to the military hospital, a few kilometers away, and attended to. Bose succumbed to his injuries in the course of the following night. The injuries sustained by the co-pilot also proved fatal. Habibur Rahman, too, had received some injuries, but they were not serious. Bose was cremated a day or two later, and the ashes were collected and sent in a box to Tokyo. At Tokyo they were taken to the Renkoji Temple and handed over to the priest in charge. There, they have remained until the present day.

4.3 This version of Bose's end rests on the testimony of a large number of witnesses, Indian as well as Japanese. Several witnesses have described Bose's journey up to Saigon, and they have stated the purpose and ratio of this journey. Four witnesses, all Japanese ex-military officers, claim to have been Bose's co-passengers in the ill-fated plane and to have suffered injuries in the crash of the aircraft on Taihoku airfield. Other witnesses saw Bose being taken to the hospital and given treatment. One doctor who attended to his injuries and gave him blood transfusion, another who examined him and signed his death certificate narrated their story in Japan. Other witnesses testified to the factum of Bose's cremation, the transport of his ashes to Tokyo and their being deposited in the Renkoji Temple. The total number of witnesses who support this story exceeds 30, of whom about a moiety have given evidence of Bose's plan of escape as evolved in the course of his discussion during the days preceding his disappearance.

4.4 The news of Bose's death was broadcast by the Domei News Agency from Tokyo on the 23rd August, 1945. It was later published in several newspapers all over the world.

4.5 An essential ingredient of this story is the reason which prompted Bose to undertake the journey which ended at Taihoku, in other words, the purpose and the ratio of this journey. We have seen that the endeavour to liberate India from British dominion had proved abortive. The Indian National Army had suffered a complete defeat in Burma, and the retreat from the battle front had soon taken the form of a rout. Bose withdrew to the comparative safety of Saramban to brood over the catastrophe and to try to devise some means of salvaging whatever could be salvaged. There, he received a message informing him of Japan's imminent capitulation and the terms on which the Japanese army had agreed to surrender to the Allied forces. Bose had to think quickly, and formulate plans for the immediate future of the IN A and his own course of action. His one obsession of fighting the British tyranny and freeing India had never left him, and now weighed upon him more heavily than before. There was also, in addition, the threat to his own personal safety, for he could scarcely hope for amnesty or leniency if he fell into the hands of Anglo-American military authorities. Several alternatives presented themselves before him. He could toe the line with the Japanese, and as helper, collaborator and the recipient of Japanese assistance, both moral and material, accept the same surrender terms and submit himself and the forces he had commanded to the demand of the victors. In doing this, he would impose upon himself the inferior status of a subsidiary ally of Japan, something he had strenuously resisted from the moment he assumed charge of the reconstituted INA, and bent his total energy to the war in Burma. He could not relish such ignominy. A voluntary surrender would not guarantee his life, for the British could try him as a traitor for waging war against them and pass sentence of death upon him. He could refuse to surrender and continue what he clearly saw was a losing fight by rallying his forces and opening another front. But such a venture, if undertaken immediately, was likely to end in disaster. He had not hesitated to face mortal danger on the battle-field, and to die in a venture which promised success, was for him an act of glory and supreme patriotism. But to undertake a suicidal adventure which would destroy him and the men in his charge would have been nothing short of folly. His undying patriotism and his undiminished confidence in the resources of his physical and mental powers dictated caution and a period of waiting. He had contemplated the possibility of obtaining Russian sympathy and aid in striving for the fulfilment of his dreams. But Russia had aligned itself with the Allies, and had now declared war against Japan. Any overtures he made to Russia could not be made without consultation with Japan for he was in duty bound to act in collaboration with his friend and helper. The rules of war also dictated such consultation, and most important of all, he would need Japanese assistance in communicating with the Russian authorities. There was yet a third alternative. He could abandon the fight for the time being and surrender to the Allies separately, in his own right as the Head of the Provisional Government of Free India. But for this, too, he must consult the Japanese authorities or, at any rate, notify them and be guided by their advice. Whatever course he adopted, it was imperative that he should discuss his plan with the Japanese headquarters or the Japanese political authorities. The commander of the Japanese forces in South-East Asia was Field Marshal Count Terauchi, who was at Dalat, not far from Saigon. Terauchi might have received advice from Tokyo about Bose's future conduct, or he might be able to obtain instructions from Tokyo. But if Terauchi was unable to help him, Bose might have to go to Tokyo in order to finalise his plan. In any event, it was essential that Bose take immediate steps to arrive at a decision after discussing the whole matter at Dalat or at Tokyo. He had yet made up his mind about what exactly he wanted to do or what was best in the circumstances. Even the two alternatives he was considering (after rejecting the easy but ignominous course of a subservient surrender along with the Japanese) were not quite clearly defined and his plans were vague and amorphous, as of necessity they had to be, in the chaotic conditions prevailing after the Japanese had capitulated.

4.6. Fortunately, we are not compelled to invoke the aid of conjecture or speculation in discovering the true purpose and ratio of what may be described as Bose's last journey. We have, on this point, the evidence of no less than 17 witnesses, eight of whom accompanied Bose on the penultimate lap of this journey. We shall first consider the evidence of the last mentioned eight witnesses. They are: (1) Hachia (Witness No. 51) who was deputed by the Japanese Government to assist Bose as Minister of the Provisional Government of Free India. He had joined Bose in December, 1944 and remained with him till August 17, 1945. (2) Nigeshi (Winess No. 50) another official of the Japanese Government who had received Bose when he arrived from Germany and had remained with him most of the time. It was he who delivered a letter containing the terms of surrender to Bose at Saramban "a few days before August 15" and accompanied him to Singapore where Bose remained till August 15, 1945. He acompanied Bose and remained with him till the morning of August 17. (3) Gen. Isoda (Witness No. 68) who was Chief of the Hikari Kifcan, which was the agency acting as liaison between the Japanese Government and the Azad Hind Government. He joined Bose at Singapore and went with him up to Saigon. (4) S. A. Iyer (Witness No. 29) who was originally in Thailand as Reuter's special correspondent and who joined the INA in June, 1942. Bose had appointed him Minister for Publicity and Propaganda, and had subsequently given him the additional charge of the National Bank of Azad Hind and its fund-collecting committee. (5) Deb Nath Das (Witness No. 3) who had for many years worked in Japan to explain India's independence movement to the Japanese. He was the General Secretary of the Indian Independence League, and had been in Bangkok when Bose arrived there first in June, 1943. He was an admirer and a close collaborator of Bose throughout. (6) Col. Pritam Singh (Witness No. 155) an officer in the British Indian Army who had taken part in the war against Japan. He had been taken prisoner and had then joined the INA. He was placed in the Intelligence Branch of the INA and was one of Bose's trusted lieutenants. He was iri-charge of Army operations, and advised Bose as the army representative, though he was not in Bose's cabinet. (7) Gulzara Singh (Witness No. 153), another officer of the British Indian Army, who went to Malaya with his regiment in April 1939, and after the fall of Singapore, was taken prisoner by the Japanese. He too joined the INA and was taken by Bose, as a member of his Cabinet. (8) Abid Hasan (Witness No. 157) who had made Bose's acquaintance in Germany, had accompanied him on the long and perilous journey by submarine to South-East Asia, and had remained with him. He too, was a Minister in Bose's Provisional Government, and was a member of his personal staff.

In addition to these 8 persons, Habibur Rahman also accompanied Bose on his last journey starting from Bangkok.

4.7. It will be seen that all the 8 witnesses named above were natural witnesses. They had a reason for being with Bose at the end of the war and during the period of his last journey. Bose had been consulting most of them, particularly Hachia and Gen. Isoda among the Japanese, and the remaining 5 Indian witnesses because they were either on his personal staff or were members of his Cabinet. It is clear that all 5 of them were completely devoted to Bose and had the greatest admiration for his talents, his dedication to duty and his organising abilities. It may be said that they blindly submitted to his orders without question. At the same time, it must be remembered that a period of more than 25 years has elapsed between the events in which they participated and their narrative of these events before the Commission. Human memory is liable to become foggy and misty, after the lapse of so many years, and the recollection of old events is seen against the light of subsequent happenings and, to a great extent, is modified by wishful thinking. Nevertheless; the evidence of these witnesses clearly shows that Bose had made up his mind to find a means of proceeding to Russia, if he could obtain the consent and the assistance of the Japanese in this venture. He had, on a previous occasion, tried to approach the Russian authorities through the Japanese, but the Japanese had not proved very helpful for reasons which are easy to understand. For, although at that time Russia had not specifically declared war against the Japanese, Russia was aligned with the Allies against the Axis forces. Russia had fought Germany and beaten back the Nazi armies from its territory on the Western front. Bose had hoped that the Russians with their old anti-British history, would be willing to help him or, at any rate, give him asylum for some time. He, therefore, asked the Japanese to convey him to some place where he would finalise his plans to go Russia or to do whatever else appeared feasible. Hachia had stated that at Bangkok, Bose told hime that he would like to go to Japan, Gen. Isoda was present at this conversation. When questioned, Hachia said: "May be, his idea was to go to Manchuria, but he said he would like to go to Japan." He went on to say that Bose requested Gen. Isoda to make transport arrangements. He accompanied Bose's party from Bangkok to Saigon. Nigeshi's evidence is that he delivered a letter containing the terms of surender to Bose at Saramban and accompanied him to Singapore on August 15, 1945. The party consisting of the 8 witnesses named above, Col. Habibur Rahman and few others travelled from Bangkok to Saigon in two bomber planes. He was not able to say what Bose's plans were, but it was never said at any time that Bose was going directly to Russia or to Manchuria, from where he would make his way to Russia. He does, however, say that Bose intended to see Field Marshal Terauchi, and the interview was to be arranged by General Isoda. Therefore, this witness, too speaks of Bose's resolve to consult the Japanese authorities before he finalised his plan.

4.8. General Isoda, as has been stated already, was the chief of the Supreme Liaison Organisation, Hikari Kikan, and as such, was the liaison between the Japanese Government and the Provisional Government of Free India. He was at Bangkok when Bose arrived from Rangoon. He remained there during Bose's brief visit to Singapore, and accompanied him up to Saigon. At Saigon, Bose was informed that a plane was going to Tokyo, via Dairen, where General Shidei had been posted. Only one seat was available in this plane. It was necessary to obtain Terauchi's authority if Bose insisted on taking any member of his staff with him. Isoda, therefore, undertook to go to Dalat and obtain Terauchi's orders in the matter. Isoda could not meet Terauchi at Dalat, but a Staff Officer told him that Bose would be allowed to take only two members of his Cabinet along with him. On his returning to Saigon, Staff Officer Tada told him that only two persons in all would be allowed to board the plane. General Isoda speaks of Bose's plan to go to Russia. When questioned about the purpose of the flight, he said: "The purpose of his flight was to go to the Soviet Union, and with the aid of the Soviet Union, he was to continue his independent movement. That was the aim of the mission. After reaching Dairen, if time allowed he had intended to go to Tokyo to express his gratitude for the Japanese help and also to collect some supplies from Tokyo. I thought no such time would be available to him for going to Tokyo. The main purpose of Mr. Bose was to go to the Soviet Union and his desire to go to Tokyo was only secondary." This point was further emphasized by Isoda when he spoke of his intervention to secure more seats for Bose's party on the plane. The flight had been primarily arranged for General Shidei who had to reach Dairen immediately, before the American army authorities arrived in Saigon to enforce a categorical ban on all Japanese aircraft movement. Isoda argued with Bose asking him not to reject the offer of two seats and thus miss the opportunity of escaping from Saigon. "So, I suggested to Mr. Bose that he should accept that arrangement for going to Soviet Russia." When Bose was given an assurance that arrangements would be made to send the remaining members of his party, later, to join him, he agreed.

4.9. Iyer's evidence highlights the fact that Bose held long discussions about his future course of action with his Ministers at Saramban, Singapore and again at Saigon. Russia had loomed large on Bose's mental horizon as his avenue of escape, his refuge and his possible hope for the resumption of his labours to free India from British bondage. But the declaration of war by Russia was a fresh development which had to be taken into account, necessitating, as it did, a reconsideration of the provisional plan. A series of meetings was held at Singapore daily, from the evening of August 12 till the midnight of August 15. At first it was contemplated that Bose and his Ministers should stay on at Singapore and allow themselves "to be taken prisoners by the British, who were expected at any time." Mr. Saka arrived from Bangkok and the discussions then took a different turn. It was finally decided that they must all leave Singapore. "The final decision was to get out of Malaya and Singapore definitely, to some Russian territory certainly, to Russia itself if possible. Netaji described this decision in his own words as 'an adventure into the unknown'."

4.10 On the morning of August 16, the whole party flew from Singapore to Bangkok, where Bose and his Cabinet spent the night. On the morning of August 17, the party, augmented by some Japanese military personnel, left Bangkok in two bomber planes and flew to Saigon where they arrived before noon. At the Saigon airport, hurried consultations took place. As a result of these, General Isoda flew to Dalat to consult Field Marshal Terauchi. Bose and his party, in the meantime, drove into the town to await developments. Soon a messenger came and said that a plane was ready to take off; only one seat in it was available and Bose should reach the aerodrome immediately to avail of it. The messenger did not know the destination of the plane and Bose declined to leave till he was enlightened on this point. Iyer went on to say: "Half an hour later, General Isoda, Hachia and a senior Staff Officer arrived at the Bungalow and went into a conference with Netaji in one of the rooms. Col. Habibur Rahman was asked to join this conference. Some time later, Netaji and Col. Habibur came out, leaving the Japanese behind. Maj. Abid Hasan, Deb Nath Das and myself followed Netaji and Col. Habib into Netaji's room. Col. Gulzara Singh and Col. Pritam Singh were urgently summoned. Netaji said; Tell them not to bother about that dress. I have no time to lose. We have to take important decisions and that, too, without a moment's delay.' They joined us and the room was bolted from inside, and Netaji stood in the middle, and we stood around him. He looked at each one's eyes and said: 'Look here. There is a plane ready to take off in the next few minutes, and we have to decide something important right now. The Japanese say that there is only one seat to spare, and what we have got to decide in a few seconds is whether I should go even if I have to go alone.' All of us felt it was a terrible decision to take....we said: 'Sir, please for Heaven's sake, insist on the Japanese giving you one more seat and if you still cannot get it then you had better take the one seat, and go. Also please insist that the Japanese should provide us with transport as soon as possible to take wherever you might be going."

4.11 Iyer went on to say that they believed that the plane was bound for Manchuria, but Bose did not specifically mention the fact. The plane finally took off, carrying inter alia, Bose and Habibur Rahman. Two days later, Iyer was informed that a plane was leaving for Japan on the 20th, and one member of the party could be accomodated in it. Actually, all the remaining members were given seats in two planes and were flown to Hanoi from where they were to fly to Japan.

4.12 It appears from Iyer's evidence that, at Saigon, that Japanese made a change in Bose's programme not only with regard to the persons who were to go with him, reducing the number to one (Habibur Rahman), but also with regard to his ultimate destination.

4.13 This change of plan is specifically mentioned by Deb Nath Das, though his evidence is somewhat contradictory and muddled, either because his memory is deceiving him or because he was overcome by emotion as, at one stage of his deposition, he frankly confessed. His story is a little different in detail from the story given by the other witnesses, though the differences are inessential and do not amount to contradictions. He spoke of three alternate plans which had been discussed and prepared even before the end of the war. One plan was to take Bose by plane and drop him somewhere in India, where he could join the national movement and carry on the fight against the British along with the Indian freedom fighters. The second plan was that Bose should go to Yunan, the headquarters of Mao Tse Tung who would help him to carry on his campaign against the British. The third plan was that Bose should go to Russia directly. Das was somewhat confused about the procedural mechanics of these plans, but he stated that Bose had asked him to prepare the first plan, and when he met him at Bangkok, he was asked if the plan was ready. Das replied that it was. But the subsequent conduct neither of Das nor of Bose indicates that Bose ever gave any thought to the idea of going to India and internally taking part in the freedom struggle, because immediately after asking him if the plan was ready, he asked Das to collect his baggage and get ready to leave with him immediately. He gave no indication of where he would be going, nor did Das question him about the matter. To explain this changed conduct, Das said that Bose might have intended to fly to a place of safety, remain underground for sometime and then make an entry into India. But in view of the fact that Bose had been discussing the matter about his future plans repeatedly with his Ministers, it is scarcely possible that he should have observed such secrecy, amounting almost to deception, just before he was leaving Bangkok. About the Russian collaboration, Das said that several weeks before the end of the war, "when we negotiated with the Russian Embassy in Tokyo, with Jacob Malik through the (Japanese) Foreign Minister, Shigemetsu, we received a letter from the Japanese military authority in Tokyo, stating that it would not be feasible on the part of Japan to send Netaji to Russia". But the surrender of the Japanese introduced a fresh factor into the entire scheme of Indo-Japanese relations. The Japanese were no longer masters of themselves, nor could they handle any difficult or complex arrangements for carrying Bose and his party to a place of his choice. They agreed to let him surreptitiously escape to Dairen where Gen. Shidei was being sent and whence Bose could make his way to Russia. This would not involve the Japanese in any infringement of international law, nor cause them any diplomatic embarrassment. But according to Das, there was a sudden change of plan at Saigon. His statement before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee was that Bose was to be taken to Tokyo. Bose felt very unhappy and said: "I don't know why they are changing the plan and specially they are telling me that I should go alone". When he appeared before me, however, Das said that Bose may have mentioned the matter of change of plans but he did not say that he was being taken to Tokyo. It is possible that this slight change is actuated by Das's desire to assert that the destination of Bose's plane was not Tokyo.

4.14 Pritam Singh stated that he dined with Bose on the evening of August 13 or 14, after the Japanese had surrendered. Bose consulted him about future strategy and if the INA too should surrender. "My suggestion", says Pritam Singh, "was that there were already thousands of men behind the bars. We would just add to their number. Then I suggested to him that we had better open a second front. Then he told me that contact had already been established with Russia, and we would try to move toward that direction". Pritam Singh, when questioned further on this point, stated that he overheard some talk about Bose going to Tokyo to discuss the matter of a separate surrender, but he was not sure who talked and what exactly was decided. His impression was that Bose and his party were going to Russia.

4.15 Gulzara Singh was somewhat vague about the matter. When, at Bangkok, Bose asked him "Chalega (will you go)", the witness replied in the affirmative, without enquiring where Bose was going and what was to be his mode of travel. At Saigon he heard that Bose's ultimate destination was Russia.

4.16 Abid Hasan's evidence is that he was at Bangkok on August 16. Bose, who had returned from Singapore, called him and told him to get ready to accompany him to Tokyo. At Tokyo, Bose would formulate his further plans. The party flew to Saigon, and from there, only Bose and Habibur Rahman were accommodated in the plane that went further. Abid Hasan's statement on this point is not wholly reliable. His memory failed him in several details, but he did say that the plane in which Bose left Saigon had to touch Taipeh for refuelling. There is, therefore, no categorical contradiction of the evidence given by the other witnesses on this point

4.17 We next have a group of witnesses who did not travel beyond Bangkok and who were concerned in formulating Bose's plans before that stage. The most important of these are Lt. Gen. Morio Takakura (witness No. 71), Watanabe (Witness No. 54), A. M. Sahay (Witness No. 164) and Ishar Singh (Witness No. 140). Their testimony is supported by the evidence of M. S. Doshi (Witness No. 35), Maj. Gen Alagappan (Witness No. 75) of the INA, Dr. Vasava Menon (Witness No. 79), Samsul Zaman (Witness No.lO) and Sen Gupta (Witness No. 28).

4.18 The evidence of Lt. Gen. Morio Takakura is that after the end of the war, there was danger of Bose being arrested by the Americans if he went to Tokyo. So, it was decided to send him to Manchuria where Gen. Shidei was being posted. The witness said: "Two months before the surrender of Japan, I went to Bangkok where I met Gen. Terauchi and Chandra Bose, and Lt. Gen. Isoda. As a result of this conversation, Mr. Chandra Bose agreed to cooperate with the Japanese forces in the Southern Area. There was a decision among Japanese military circle that it will be better for Mr. Chandra Bose to go to some area where he could have freedom of action than coming to Japan because he might have been arrested, had he come to Japan. So, it would be better for him to go to such a place, for instance. Soviet-Machuria border....Lt. Gen. Shidei was on transfer to Kwantung army....that is why Mr. Chandra Bose went with him....The Headquarters at Tokyo accepted the plan of Netaji for his going to Russia via Dairen and the Headquarters selected Lt. Gen. Shidei to accompany Netaji." Takakura is an entirely disinterested Witness and there is no reason why reliance should not be placed on his testimony.

4. 19 Watanabe made a similar statement. He joined the Hikari Kikan, and when the war ended, he was at Bangkok. He said that he conveyed a message to Bose that Japan would be unable to continue to provide aid to him. On this, Bose expressed a desire to fly to the Soviet Union. He was to fly from Bangkok to Saigon and then to Japan via Formosa. The witness went on to say that Gen. Isoda and Hachia were present when this scheme was formulated. Watanabe had made the same statement before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee.

4.20 Ishar Singh was President of the Indian Independence League, Thailand Branch. He was Adviser to the Azad Hind Government, and was appointed Minister of State by Bose. His evidence is that when the Japanese surrendered, Bose went to Bangkok and discussed his future plans of going to Russia and seeking Russian help. Before leaving Bangkok, Bose told the witness that he did not want to be taken prisoner by the Americans, and would like to go to Russia to keep alive the Indian Independence movement. "He said he would try to go to Manchuria. This decision was arrived at when we advised against his surrender, because we said that, with his surrender, the independence movement would die."

4.21 Maj. Gen. Alagappan of the I.N.A. was at Singapore till Bose left on 16th August, 1945. He was the chief Administrator of the Indian independence movement and of the I.N.A. in Burma. He says that they came to the conclusion that only Russia could give asylum to Netaji. He, therefore, worked out a chart of the land route from Hanoi to Herban in Manchuria. He does not know in detail what the final plans of Bose were, but the witness thought that Bose would attempt to make his way to Manchuria and then to Russia.

4.22 Dr. S. Vasava joined the I. N.A. as a medical officer. He was present at Bangkok when Bose left for his last journey, and went to the aerodome. His evidence is that from Bose's conversation he gathered that he was going to the Manchurian Border.

4.23 Samsul Zaman and M. S. Doshi are witnesses who met Bose for the last time in April, 1945. Both of them say that the matter of Bose's future plans had been considered as early as April, and it was decided that in the event of a Japanese defeat, Bose would make his way to Rusia. Samsul Zaman says that the original plan of sending Bose to India had to be abandoned as it was likely to prove too perilous and unrewarding.

4.24 Sen Gupta gives a somewhat unbelievable story of Bose giving him a letter, the contents of which envisaged a faked aircrash, but the letter was not produced and according to the witness, was confiscated by the Allied forces when his house was raided after the end of the war. He also claims to have received from Bose a gold chain intended for his wife. This chain was sold when Sen Gupta was in financial difficulties. We may disregard the evidence of this witness, although he, too says that Bose had planned to go to Russia through the Manchurian border. He even said that necessary arrangements for Bose's journey to Russia had been made.

4.25 A. M. Sahay's evidence is that the Japanese had proved unhelpful in establishing contact with the Russians because they did not like the idea of Bose coming into contact with any third party. Bose, however, had to contact the Russians through the Japanese, beacuse, without Japanese assistance, he could not hope to travel to Manchuria. Sahay went to Hanoi on 31st July, 1945 and stayed there. He, therefore, cannot say anything about Bose's last minute plans, but so far as his evidence goes, it corroborates the testimony of all other witnesses with regard to the fact that Bose's plan was to go to Russia via Manchuria.

4.26 This is the most important, the most natural and the most reliable evidence relating to the purpose of Bose's journey from Bangkok to Saigon and onward. The witnesses are almost unanimous in saying that Bose's plan was to escape to Russia where he hoped to rally support for his cause of liberating his country from the British rule. Wisdom, tactics, strategy and the desire for self-preservation, all dictated this move, and the Japanese were prevailed upon to provide him the means of at least setting out on what he called his adventure into the unknown.

4.27 We thus find that Bose's intention and purpose are completely consistent with the story of his arrival at Taihoku. Indeed on other hypothesis can his taking a seat in Shedei's plane flying from Saigon toward Manchuria be explained.

4.28 Let us revert now to the course of Bose's journey beyond Saigon. We have already seen that he and Habibur Rahman boarded a Japanese bomber at the Saigon airport and took off for their destination. This happened at 5 P.M. on 17-8- 1945. The subsequent events are deposed to by a number of witnesses, of whom four actually claimed to have travelled with Bose on the plane. The story narrated by this witnesses, in brief, is that the bomber arrived at Tourane at 7.45 P.M. It was too late to proceed further that day and so the crew and the passengers spent the night at Tourane. Early the following morning, the same crew and passengers took off from Tourane at 7 A.M. They arrived at the Taihoku airport, in north Formosa, at about 2 P.M. Here the plane was attended to by flight engineers, and a light lunch was taken by the passengers. It was reported that there was something wrong with one of the engines, but the snag was attended to and the pilot declared his satisfaction with the flight worthiness of the plane. The passengers accordingly, emplaned and the pilot took off at 2.35 P.M. Within a few moments, however, an explosion was heard and the plane crashed within the precincts of the airfield. The body of the plane broke into two and it caught fire. The pilot and General Shidei died instantaneously, the remaining crew and passengers received serious and light injuries and were able to come out of the plane. The second pilot, Aoyagi, had been badly injured and he died in the hospital the same night. Bose's injuries were also serious and he was seen to be almost completely on fire. The fire was extinguished by Habibur Rahman and others, and he alongwith the other injured persons was hurried to the military hospital which is at a distance of about 4 kilometres from the airport. Bose was treated for his injuries, and although he recovered his senses intermittently and was given a number of injections and also blood transfusion, he succumbed to the burn injuries after a few hours. Subsequently, his body was cremated and the ashes were sent to Japan where they were placed in a receptacle which was lodged in the Renkoji temple.

4.29 the most important witnesses of this story are the four persons who claim to have travelled in the bomber plane. They are Lt. Col. Sakai (Witness No. 47), S. Nonogaki (Witness No. 53), an army officer who was also posted to Manchuria and had to go there with General Shidei, Taro Kono (Witness No. 63), who was a Staff Officer attached to the 7th Air Division, and acted as navigator of the bomber from Saigon onward, and finally, Takahashi (Witness No. 65), who was a Staff Officer attached to the 15th Army.

4.30 Since the evidence of these witnesses was criticised on the ground that their testimony was discrepant, it is necessary to quote from their statements a few passages. The evidence of Lt. Col. Sakai is that there were 8 passengers and the crew in the plane. He mentioned that, in addition to Bose and Habibur Rahman, Kono, Takahashi, Arai and Gen. Shidei travelled on the plane. He said that the crew and passengers stayed at Taipei for about one or two hours. Lt. Col. Nonogaki was sitting facing him, Takahashi and Arai were behind him. Bose and Rahman were ahead of him, but from where he sat, he could not see them. Describing the crash, the witnesses stated:

"The plane started, using almost the full length of the runway and took off, and at 30-40 meters above the ground, the plane leaned towards the ground. Although I am not an expert in navigation, we looked outside to see what happened. At that time I saw the ground was coming up, and so I thought forced landing may be inevitable under such circumstances. Then the rear wheel of the plane struck hard on the ground and I saw it moving towards the left side....There was no explosion. As soon as I saw the rear wheel breaking away, as I was seeing from the aeroplane cockpit window, I hit the ceiling of the cockpit and became unconscious.
"Q: Did you recover consciousness while you were still in the plane?
Witness: I felt very hot and recovered my senses.
Q: Did you jump out the plane?
Witness: I found myself lying on the ground. My sleeves were burning and I rolled myself to put the fire out. My memories for the period before I was treated medically are very broken...I was the first, among our group, except perhaps Mr. Chandra Bose to be put on the operation table. The doctor checked me and found my injuries were not so serious. So I was treated in the last. When I was put to bed in the next room, I was told by a young woman who was attending on me, that there was Mr. Bose lying in the bed opposite to my bed...I learnt later, after I was taken to Hokuto Army Hospital, that Mr. Bose had died."

Lt. Col. Sakari did not appear as a witness before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee because when the Committee visited Japan, the Witness had gone to Taiwan and was not available.

4.31 The next witness is S. Nonogaki (Witness No. 53), According to him, the plane carried Gen. Shidei, Kono, Takizawa, Sakai, Arai, Takahashi, Bose and his Indian aide, the pilot and three others, and himself, a total of 13. The story of the crash is narrated by him in the folowing words:

"Immediately after we took off, the propeller on the left engine was torn off, and then the engine broke and the plane crashed into a bomb crater. I believe it was over the end of the ranway. The plane crashed near the end and not beyond the runway."

Q: Can you remember how high the plane had risen before it fell?
Witness: I feel it was about 20 meters from the ground."

The witness went on to say that he received injuries. He saw Bose wrapped in flames and "his aide was trying to put out the fire. Chandra Bose was standing. The aide was not in such a serious state. Gen. Shidei did not come out. I saw the pilot coming out, but I did not see Major Takizawa and the three members of the crew coming out...The injured were taken to the hospital. It took about 20-30 minutes by car. I also went to the hospital."

4.32 Regarding Bose, the witness said that he was more or less naked because his clothes were burnt and he had been completely bandaged. He went on to say that he was in the same room as Bose. The doctor who attended to them was Dr. Yoshimi, and Bose, who was very severely injured, was the first to receive treatment. Later the same night, the witness learnt that Bose had died at 11 p.m. He also learnt that Gen. Shidei had died instantaneously in the plane. The witness' injuries became worse and he was taken to the hospital at Fukuoka where he stayed for three weeks.

4.33 The third witness is Taro Kono (No. 63). This witness acted as the navigator of the plane from Saigon onward. According to him, there were 13 persons in the plane, i.e. Gen. Shidei, Aoyagi, Takizawa, Takahashi, Nonogaki, Arai, Sakai and engineer, two radio officers, Bose, Habibur Rahman and himself. The story of the crash is narrated by him in the following terms:

"After we took off and the altitude was about 20-30 meters from the ground, the left propeller was blown off and the left engine was torn off and the plane leaned toward the right and nose-dived. The plane hit from the right wing against the dike within the conpound of the airport. After that I saw many baggages flying against me from the rear and Lt. Gen. Shidei was sitting by my side, and behind Lt. Gen. Shidei there was a fuel tank which was broken and hit against the head of Gen. Shidei and I found him dead. Pilot Takizawa had. his face hit against the steering handle and he was injured in the face and he also died. To the left in front of me, there was pilot Aoyagi. He had his both legs stuck in the broken part of the plane and he was unable to move. Behind me, there were Mr. Bose and Mr. Rahman, but because the tank was broken and came in the way, I could not see them. Between myself and Pilot Aoyagi there was a non-commissioned Engineer, but I do not remember what happened to him. Afterwards I tried to pull out Aoyagi, but I could not do it. He was caught in the broken part of the plane. I think it was about 2-3 minutes while I was looking about persons in this way when the plane caught fire. The fire started from the left engine, which was torn off, and the fire came towards me. So, I thought I had to get out immediately. I broke the window above and I got out from there. I got out and stood on the left wing of the plane just above the broken engine. When I jumped down from that part of the wing, I was showered with gasoline from the broken engine and I caught fire. I rolled on the grass nearby to put out the fire, and I put out the fire in that way. After that I was sitting quietly on the ground for a little while. Then Col. Nonogaki came to me. The plane was broken in three parts generally and we saw Mr. Bose coming out of the fire from a little bit behind from the middle of the plane. He was completely wrapped in flames and he stood erect with both hands stiff, like a guardian God in Buddhist shrines. Perhapes his shirt was burning. Then I saw that his aide came and tried to put out the fire and tried to remove his shirt. I saw-only to that extent. Then the airport crew came to us by car, and Mr. Bose was taken by the first car and I was taken in another car. Both the vehicles in which we went were trucks. The vehicle in which I was taken was a car which is used to start the propeller of the planes. After that I was hospitalised at the Army Hospital in Taipei. So what I have seen about Mr. Chandra Bose was to that point that he was put in the car. That was the last I saw of him. I was taken to the same hospital where all other injured were taken." The witness went on to say that very night he was removed to the Hokuto Army Hospital where also were taken Nonogaki, Aoyagi, Rahman, Sakai and "perhaps Takahashi too." He said that Aoyagi died in the hospital.

4.34 Since he was the navigator of the plane, he was questioned about the condition of the engines. This is what he said: "The condition of the engines was normal both at Saigon and at Tourain. Before the departure from Taipei, there was a slight engine trouble. The engines were checked at Taipei. When we were testing the engines, when it exceeded 2000 rotations, there were vibrations in the left engine. We stopped the engine and checked it, but we could not find any defects. Then we started the engine again, but we did not see any vibrations at all, I do not know why. I am going to tell you what I have heard from Major Li who is a friend of mine...I thought of telling the story because it has relevance to the question. I was told later by Major Li that three months before the aircrash, the same plane when it began to land at Saigon, the plane overran the runway and fell in the ditch at the airport and the propellers were broken. At that time all the propellers were bent, but there was no replacement of propellers at Saigon and the propellers were repaired and not replaced. Then the same plane was given to us. The vibrations we felt in Taipei might have been caused by some cracks in the propellers."

4.35 Regarding Bose's end, the witnesses said that he heard that Bose had died at about 7 O'clock on the evening on the 18th of August. He was then in the same hospital where Bose was being treated.

4.36 The last witness in this category is Takahashi (No. 65). According to him, there were 14 persons on the plane including Bose, Shidei, Nonogaki, 4 members of the crew, the witness and Habibur Rahman. He said that the plane left Taipei at about 1.30 p.m. and when the plane crashed, he lost his senses. His leg was fractured but he was able to see Bose coming out of the plane with his clothes all on fire. The incident was described by the witness in the following words:

Mr. Takahashi: Immediately after we took off, the plane crashed.
Q: Can you remember how high the plane was at that time?
Mr. Takahashi: I cannot exactly remember how high we were, I think we saw big trees towards the right. I presume it was about 30 meters high.
Q: Can you tell us when the plane crashed?
Mr. Takahashi: I was sitting in the rear portion of the plane surrounded by the baggage. There was no seat then. I heard noise.
Q: Can you say what kind of noise?
Mr. Takahashi: I heard a sound like crashing then I think the plane learned towards the left and crashed on the ground.
Q: What happened then?
Mr. Takahashi: The plane caught fire. The plane was broken. The doors were opened. I lost consciousness and when I regained my consciousness I was sitting in the baggage inside the plane, when I got up the plane was burning. I had my left leg fractured, and I crawled out of the plane. A little after I had crawled out, I saw Mr. Bose coming out from the other door. I do not exactly remember whether it was the broken portion of the plane. He came out walking with his clothes on fire. I could not speak his languge. I showed him by rolling myself on the ground how to put out the fire. Mr. Bose followed me and himself rolled on the ground. I and his aide tried to put out the fire. We extinguished the fire. Then I lost my consciousness a second time. I regained my consciousness rather immediately. I saw Mr. Bose was being taken to a car and I was taken into another car and we went to the Taipeh hospital where I saw Mr. Bose in the next room. Mr. Sakai, Nonogaki and myself had minor injuries and were in the same room and in the next room Mr. Bose was lying.

The witness heard from Nonogaki that Mr. Bose had died the same night.

4.37 The evidence of these four witnesses finds ample corroboration in another group of witnesses, 11 in number. Of these, the most important is Dr. Yoshimi (Witness No. 72), who was acting as the Chief of the Branch Hospital of the Taihoku Army Hospital. It was to this Branch Hospital that the injured persons, including Bose, were taken. His story is that he received a telephone call from the airport about the aircrash, and he waited to receive the injured persons. Two of the persons who arrived were foreigners and he was told that they were Indian nationals. He was further told that one of them was Bose and the other was his aide. Regarding Bose's injury, the witness said: "The injuries were burns all over the body. Mr. Chandra Bose suffered general burns all over the body, and his aide had slight injuries on his head, on his face and on his right hand. The other 5 persons mostly suffered burns and bruises." He went on to say that Bose was conscious when he was brought to hospital. "When he was brought in the hospital, he was naked. He was brought on the stretcher. He was naked but was covered with a blanket." The witness treated Bose who remained conscious for 7 or 8 hours. The treatment he gave him consisted of giving an injection of ringer solution and blood transfusions. The blood transfusion was operated by a surgeon from the Army Headquarters and not by Dr. Yoshimi. Dr. Yoshimi was present when Bose died, later the same night, and he prepared a death certificate which he signed. The witness was shown a photograph of Bose, which is printed in Suresh Chandra Bose's Dissenting Report and he confirmed that this was the same person whom he had trated on the 18th of August, 1945.

4.38 Another important witness of corroboration is Lt. Gen. Fujiwara (No. 45). His evidence is to the effect that he was in the hospital at Fukuoka to which Nonogaki (Witness No. 63) and Takahashi (Witness No. 65) were brought for further tratment on 20-8- 1945. From these two persons he heard the story of the crash. They remained under treatment for bruises and injuries which the witness himself saw and which they said they had suffered in the crash of the plane in which they and Bose had been travelling and which had crashed. Gen. Fujiwara saw the two eye-witnesses of the crash, shortly after the accident and heard their story. He also saw injuries on their persons, and so his corroboration testimony has considerable probative value. Gen. Fujiwara travelled from Tokyo to Delhi to tender evidence in the Red Fort trial of the INA officers. Habibur Rahman travelled with him on this occasion, and the witness saw that Habibur Rahman had burn injury marks. He heard from him that he (Habibur Rahman) had sustained these injuries in the aircrash in which Bose sustained fatal injuries. The following extract from the witnesses' statement is relevant:

"Q: I would like to know that the substance of your evidence is that in the hospital you heard the story of the aircrash and this story was not contradicted by anyone at any stage afterwards.
Witness: Yes.
Q: And you have met three of the eye-witnesses, i.e. Nonogaki, Takahashi and Habibur Rahman?
Witness: yes.
Q: And none of these three witnesses ever contradicted the story of the aircrash or did they contradict it?
A: None of them contradicted it. About the aircrash, the Imperial Headquarters of the Japanese army announced this air accident."

4.39 Another important witness who corroborates the story of the four eye-witnesses of the crash is Dr. Yoshio Ishii (Witness No. 69). He was the Lieutenant Surgeon in the Taipei Army Hospital in August, 1945. His story is that at 3 P.M. on August 18, the heard cries of some patients in the ward, about 20 meters from the place. He saw that a nurse was giving blood transfusion to Mr. Bose but she was finding difficulty in doing so because she could not find the vein. He is a children's Surgeon and accustomed to delicate and careful handling of patients, He was able to locate the vein in Bose's arm and helped the nurse to guide the neddle into it. The blood transfusion, however, did not lead to any improvement in Bose's condition which was very serious. In fact, the doctor thought that Bose would die very soon. The next morning he saw a coffin being carried out and he was told that it contained Bose's body.

"When I went to the ward, a nurse was giving blood tranfusion to Mr. Bose but she was finding it difficult to get the neddle to go into his vein.
Q: How did you know it was Mr. Bose?
A: The nurse asked me to give the blood transfusion to the patient. Since I had to first ascertain the name of the patient before treating him, I asked the name of the patient and the nurse told me that gentleman was His Excellency Mr. Bose.
Q: Did you never meet Mr. Bose before?
A: Witness; I knew him by name only. But I had never met him before.
Q: Were you abte to see his face?
A: The patient was bandaged when I was about to give the injection.
Q: What part was visible?
A: I could see his eyes, some part of the nose and mouth." He went on to say that about 100 c.c. of blood was transfused into Bose's body but no appreciable improvement could be observed. He found that Bose's blood was very thick. "So I thought he was going to die very soon. I then saluted him and left the room."

4.41 The next witness of corroboration is Lt. Col. Shibuya (Witness No. 70). He was posted at the Army Headquarters at Taipei. He received a telephone call from the Airport Battalion Headquarters that a plane carrying some Indian had crashed at the airport. He went to the airport and saw the wreckage lying beyond the concrete runway. Then he went to the hospital and saw a bandaged person who, he was told, was Bose. He spoke to Bose's aide, who was an Indian, whose name he could not remember, but there can be no doubt that the witness meant Habibur Rahman. There were some Japanese officers also lying injured in the hospital and Dr. Yoshimi was there attending to them. Next day, the witness heard that Bose had died. He heard later that Bose's body had been cremated but he could not remember whether he attended the cremation. The witness was confronted with his previous statement made before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee, when he had said that Bose was dead when he reached the hospital. This may be due to lapse of memory on his part because he does not claim to have spoken to Bose and said that he saw him lying in bed all bandaged up. The witness also met Mr. Sakai (Witness No. 47) and saw his injuries.

4.42 Another witness of corroboration is Koji Takamiya (Witness No. 52). This witness was a member of the Japanese Military Police at Taipei. He was at Gendarmery Headquarters, 2 Km from the airport where he heard that Chandra Bose had been injured and Saidei had been killed in an aircrash. He was told that about 10 persons had been injured in the accident which took place at about 2 p.m. on the 17th or 18th of August, 1945. He received this message from Nonogaki and immediately went to the Hospital. There he saw Bose lying in bed, and the next day he heard that Bose had died. He knew Nonogaki very well and Nonogaki told him that he himself had been injured in the crash.

4.43 Another witness is Tadashi Ando (Witness No. 46), a military staff officer of the press at Taipei. He said that he heard of the aircrash on August 18, 1945 when he was in his camp about 4 Km from Taipei. He went to the spot and heard of Shidei's death in the crash. He saw the wreckage of the plane and learnt that Bose had been taken to the hospital in an injured condition. The next day he heard that Bose had died.

4.44 Another witness is Kenichi Sakai (Witness No. 67), a commander of the Air Force Battalion at Taipei, whose office was about 4 Km from the airport, He says that on being informed about the aircrash, he went to the airport, where he reached about 3 P.M. He saw the plane burning about 10 or 20 meters from the runway. The injured persons, by then, had been moved to the hospital and the military police was guarding the wreckage. He was told by the Chief of the Aerodrome Unit that Bose had been injured in the crash. He saw some ornaments and jewellery, e.g. necklaces, chains, rings, bank-notes etc. lying on the airfield and these were collected by the members of the military police. The plane was a heavy bomber. The witness did not go to the hospital.

4.45 The next witness is General Isoda (Witness No. 68). He accompanied Bose up to Saigon, although he was in a different plane. He has described the story of the journey from Bangkok to Saigon, which has already been related above. He saw Bose take off from the Saigon airport in a Japanese bomber along with General Shidei, Habibur Rahman, etc. He heard later that Bose had died. It may be pointed out here that there are a number of discrepancies, about minor details, between the statement which he made before this Commission and what he said before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee.

4.46 Another witness is Shigetaka Suriure (Witness No. 66). He was the Staff Intelligence Officer posted at Taipei. He say that he received advance information of the arrival of the bomber in which Bose was travelling on 18-8-1945. He was in his office near the airport and went to the airport and was present when the plane arrived. He heard of the aircrash but did not see it nor did he go to the hospital afterwards to see the injured persons. The importance of the evidence of this witness is that he had advance information of Bose's arrival at Taipei, and he deposes that the aircrash took place the same afternoon.

4.47 Another witness is Lai Min Yee (Witness No. 203). This witness was working in the transport section of the Japanese army at Taipei. His story is that he heard of the plane crash in which an Indian leader was involved. He went to the airport and saw that the Japanese soldiers had cordoned off the site and did not permit anyone to go near. This happened three days after the surrender by japan which took place on 15-8-1945. According to him the plane started and hit a high wall of the temporary railway track and smashed before it crossed the Keelung river.

4.48 The last witness in this category is Chang Chuen (Witness No. 207), who was working in the Japanese Army Headquarters in the Guards Section at Taipei. His story is that on the 20th August, 1945, he was ordered to go to the hospital and stand guard on Bose's coffin on which was written the name of Chandra Bose. He also saw some injured persons there. On the following day, i.e. 21st August, 1945 a truck came and carried the body to the crematorium. His story about the coffin is given in the following words:

"The coffin went in a Japanese military truck and we went with it to Hsinsgheng North Road Crematorium. The crematorium is still in existence. When the coffin was taken out of the truck, the keeper of the crematorium came and said the coffin was too big to enter the furnace. So we opened the box, which was filled with calcium oxide. The Japanese ordered to pull the dead body from the coffin and it was wrapped in a cloth and a Japanese army blanket. When the dead body was taken out of the coffin, the Keeper of the Crematorium immediately prepared two big planks which could enter the furnace for cremating. When the two keepers of the Crematorium lifted the dead body, it was too heavy for them to take. They asked for help and I and my colleague assisted them in taking the dead body up to the mouth of the furnace and pushing it in. After we saw that the door of the furnace was closed, the Keeper brought some disinfecting fluid to wash our hands and then we left the crematorium." Questioned further, the witness stated that the person who was cremated was a very important person, and that is why a standing guard was posted to honour the body.

4.49 This is the story of the crash and Bose's death as the result of the injuries sustained in the crash deposed to by four eye-witnesses and eleven other persons who corrobarate them. There is no reason at all why these witnesses should have conspired to concost a totally false story and deposed to it on oath. Witnesses do tell lies on oath, but there is always an understandable motive which prompts them to commit perjury. It may be enmity against an individual who can be held responsible for a crime and made to suffer thereby, it may be deep interest in a person who has suffered and whose cause the witness is willing to espouse or it may be monetary consideration, for witnesses can be bought. None of these considerations, however, obtain in the present case. Also the story the witnesses relate is a natural one. Bose had planned to escape, but the plan failed because of the malfunctioning of one of the aircraft engines. This defect has been ascribed by Taro Kono (Witness No. 63) to an accident which had occurred three months previously when the propellers of the plane were damaged. The propellers could not be replaced and were perforce repaired. The damage must have been more serious and more fundamental than was believed at the time, and manifested itself on the fateful day of August 18, when the aircraft crashed and was completely destroyed.

4.50 The truth of this story was challenged on various grounds, and it was argued that the evidence adduced in support of it is completely untrustworthy, and indeed, the story was fabricated in order to provide a cover for Bose's escape route. The submissions made by Shri Mukhoty, Counsel for the National Committee, Shri A. P. Chakraborty, Counsel for the Forward Bloc Party and Shri N. Dutt Majumdar, Counsel for the Bose's family, may be summarised as follows:

(i) The Japanese held Bose in such high esteem and were so determined to help him escape the consequences of his falling into the hands of the Allied Military forces that they prepared an elaborate story of a fictitious aircrash and Bose's death, when in actual fact, Bose reached Manchuria safely and thence proceeded to Russia.
(ii) All the Japanese witnesses were prevailed upon to testify to a false story in order to save Bose; also to safeguard their national honour, they have persisted in repeating the untrue version even after the lapse of 25 years.
(iii) There are glaring discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses both inter se and between the statements made before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee and before this Commission. These discrepancies prove that the witnesses were not describing something which they had seen but were lending their support to a manufactured story.
(iv) Bose was a very secretive person by nature, and he never revealed his plans, except to the very few who had to receive last minute instructions for the actual execution of the particular plan in hand. So no one knew the details of how Bose was going to escape and if false news of his death would be broadcast to distract attention from his actual whereabouts.
(v) Among Bose's co-passengers none except Habibur Rahman knew him. So these witnesses cannot be said to have identified him as the man who was involved in the aircrash on the Taihoku airfield, and who consequently succumbed to the burn injuries received in the crash. Also the only persons who are alleged to have died are the persons who were to go to Manchuria i.e. beyond Taipei. None of the survivors had to go beyond Taipei. This strange coincidence also supports the hypothesis that Bose and the other persons who were to go on to Manchuria did, in fact, reach there, whereas only the persons who were to be left behind are said to have survived.
(vi) The Japanese did not show Bose's dead body to anyone nor did they call any Anglo-American military authority to view the body in order to prove Bose's death and to exculpate themselves from the charge of violating the terms of their surrender and helping the enemy to escape.
(vii) No photographs of Bose to provide evidence of identification of the dead body were taken either in the hospital or at the crematorium. Considering that the Japanese have almost a mania for photographing persons and objects, this ommission is significant and supports the hypothesis that Bose did not die.
(viii) No military honours were accorded to Bose at his funeral. Bose was the Head of an Independent State which was recognised by 9 independent countries. He was held in high esteem by the Japanese and it is inconceivable that the Japanese could have allowed his dead body to be cremated without the usual military honours or without even the placing of flowers or a wreath on his dead body.
(ix) There are no flight documents to prove the identity of the crew and the passengers on the bomber which is alleged to have crashed at Taihoku on the afternoon on August 18, 1945. No passenger manifest was forth coming and there is no evidence of any enquiry having been held into the accident.
(x) There is a singular lack of hospital records to prove Bose's illness, the nature of the treatment given to him and his subsequent death; no history sheet of his illness, no bed-head ticket relating to Bose could be found.
(xi) No cremation permit or cremation certificate to prove that Bose and no one else was cremated has been forthcoming.
(xii) There was no official announcement of Bose's death and it was only the private Domei News Agency which made the announcement. Strangely enough it was A. M. Sahay who was asked to draft the announcement. Sahay had not witnessed the crash. He had not even seen Bose's dead body and the utilisation of his services also shows that the whole story of the air crash was false.
(xiii) The wrist watch which was recovered from Bose's person and brought to India by Habibur Rahman was not the watch which Bose was wearing at the time of his alleged death or had worn at any time previously. This watch is a rectangular one and Bose always wore a round-dialed watch on his wrist.
(xiv) Bose had a gold-covered tooth, and it if was his dead body which was cremated, some quantity of gold must have been found in his ashes.There is no proof that any gold was found in the ashes which were taken to Tokyo and deposited in the Renkoji Temple. This circumstance also contradicts the story of Bose's death and subsequent cremation.
(xv) There was a general disbelief of the story of the air crash and the subsequent death of Bose. Responsible persons openly expressed their disbelief of the story and continued to say that, in their view, Bose was alive.

4.51 These are the main ground upon which the story of the crash and Bose's death was directly criticised. I shall now deal with these arguments seriatim.

4.52 I have, in an earlier part of this report, drawn attention to the nature of the relations which subsisted between Bose and the Japanese. Although Bose was personally held in great esteem by the Japanese, they did not accept him as an equal ally, for the simple reason that he had no resources, and for everything he wanted to do, for every military expedition he planned, he had to draw upon the moral as well as the material assistance of the Japanese. They could not but consider him as something only a little more than a puppet. I have already emphasised the fact that the Japanese were extremely proud of their military record in never having suffered defeat, of their devotion to duty and their national honour. It is on record that when the Indians in South-East Asia spoke of the absentee property of the Indians they were told "absentee property according to international law is enemy property. What property do you have here? You are all puppets. You must acknowledge the generosity of the Japanese in entrusting you with the management of absentee property at all...As for Indian prestige, that is secondary to the execution of the Commander-in-Chiefs Orders. Puppets? What is the harm in being puppets? You should be proud to be puppets of the Japanese." This was said before Bose arrived on the scene, but it is indicative of the true attitude of the Japanese towards Indians, an attitude that did not change much, even after Bose's arrival. Shah Nawaz Khan has stated, in his evidence, that the Japanese gave them poor provisions, inadequate transport and insufficient medical supplies. The Japanese did not keep their promise to hand over occupied Indian territory to the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. The administration of the Andaman Islands remained with the Japanese military authorities and Loganadhan was nothing more than a civilian administrator exercising partial power of control.

4.53 A. M. Sahay (Witness No. 164) who was the General Secretary of Bose's Cabinet stated that the Indian community in South-East Asia was extremely anti-Japanese because of the very arrogant attitude of the Japanese towards India. This was the view which Deb Nath Das (Witness No. 3) had expressed to Sahay and Sahay agreed with him. Shah Nawaz Khan was more forthright. Some passages from his statement on this subject merit quotation. Shah Nawaz Khan is the author of a book "I.N.A. and Its Netaji". In this book he had written:

"There was much dissatisfaction among the personnel of the I.N.A. The rifles supplied were old and rusty. The light machine-guns and medium machine-guns had no spare parts; mortars and heavy artillary had no optical scientific instruments. The armoured vehicles were useful for photographic propaganda, and a good number of prisoners of war were removed from Gen. Mohan Singh's control. Some anti-aircraft gunners who were segregated for training were placed under the direct command of Japanese officers. The I.N.A. advance parties in Burma were not treated well by the Japanese."

This passage was put to the witness, in the course of his deposition, and he said: "By and large, I would say, what is stated that is correct."

4.54 The witness went on to say that, before Bose arrived, the feeling among the Indians was that the Japanese were trying to make stooges and puppets of the Indians. When Col. Niranjan Singh Gill and Mahavur Singh Dhillon were sent to Burma to make an on-the spot investigation:

"They found small groups of I.N.A personnel, known as the intelligence groups, were being used by the Japanese as agents and spies to collect information, which was not the type of job for which I.N.A. was meant to be used."

The witness added:

"As you have just read in the book we were dissatisfied with the Japanese. We were provided with no transport; weapons were very indifferent, and we had a feeling that they deliberately wanted to show that the I.N.A. could not fight, and our soldiers knew this...Very frankly, to be fair to them, they were not quite sure of the I.N.A. Because of their earlier experience, they were not quite sure that if they made this I.N.A. too powerful it might start fighting them too."

Another indication of Japanese attitude towards the INA is contained in the following passage from the witness's deposition:

"When we went to the front line, every one of our officers was carrying on his back a fantastic load, weighing about 80-100 lbs. No transport was provided. Everything, all the rations for 10-15 days, all their clothing, bedding, trench tools, etc., they had to carry on their backs."

When the I.N.A. retreated they had to do so without transport, without medicines, in very heavy rain.

4.55 There are numerous passages in the "I.N.A. & ITS NETAJI" which reveal the Japanese attitude towards the Indian National army. It will be sufficient to quote three passages. The first one appears at page 64:

"From the day that we first came in contact with the Japanese, most of us developed a great dislike of Japanese methods of dealing with people whose cause they professed to champion. This dislike intensified when we saw with our own eyes the organised looting and raping indiscriminately indulged in by Japanese soldiers. We often asked ourselves: Is the same thing going to happen in India when we take the Japanese with us?' In addition to this, the more we dealt with the Japanese the more suspicious we grew of their real intentions on India. For example, when we first organised the I.N.A., they issued guns to the I.N.A. without any optical or mechanical instruments without which it was not possible to fire these guns with any degree of accuracy. And no ammunition of any kind was entrusted to I.N.A., tanks and armoured cars were, fit only for ceremonial parades and propaganda photographs. In fact, any one with any knowledge of modern weapons could see that the Japanese were deliberately not issuing properarms and equipment to the I.N.A. and without essential equipment it was not possible for any army to succeed against a well-equipped modern fighting force."

The second passage appears at page 107:

"The Japanese were not giving all the assistance to the I.N.A. that they could and should have given. They made all sorts of vague promises that the I.N.A. would be supplied with everything when it reached the front line, but this, of course, was never done."

This was the conduct of the Japanese after Bose had arrived and taken charge of the Indian National Army.

"Lastly, and with a clear conscience, I can say that the Japanese did not give full aid and assistance to the Azad Hind Fauj during their assault on Imphal. In fact, I am right in saying that they let us down badly and had it not been for their betrayal of the I.N.A. the history of the Imphal campaign might have been a different one. My own impression is that the Japanese did not trust the I.N.A. They had found out through their liaison officers that the I.N.A. would not accept Japanese domination in any way, and that they would fight the Japanese in case they attempted to replace the British."

4.57 The views expressed by Shah Nawaz Khan in his book are entitled to the greatest respect, because he was not only a trusted colleague of Bose but had been specially selected by him to command the crack Subhas Brigade which made the first attempt to push the British back, in an endeavour to free India. Shah Nawaz Khan took part in this offensive and he, better than anybody else, was in a position to assess the true worth of Japanese professions and what was the real Japanese attitude towards Indians. It does not need a great deal of perspicacity to understand that the Japanese were interested in the I.N.A. not in order to help India free itself from British bondage but to make use to the I.N.A in their campaign against the Allies in South-East Asia. They had realised that Bose commanded a great deal of respect and following amongst a vast number of Indian in South-East Asia and that he was in a position to draw upon the wealth of the richer Indians for a patriotic cause. Their respect for Bose began and ended with his usefulness to them. After their surrender, Bose could be of no assistance to them. They deprived him of the personal aircraft which they had placed at his disposal. They showed scant respect to him; Field Marshal Terauchi did not condescend to admit Bose's emissary to a personal interview. The war had come to an end and so had Bose's usefulness to the Japanese. They paid a certain amount of lip service to Bose, and offered him an asylum in Japan. They were willing to give some little help in providing him with a means of escape, but beyond this they were not willing to do anything.

4.58 On the last lap of his journey, Bose could not be provided with more than two seats in the bomber which left Saigon. On this point there is not the slightest doubt, and the evidence is unanimous. All the witnesses have stated that Bose was considerably upset, and scant courtesy was shown to him by the Japanese military authorities. Even allowing for the fact that after the surrender of the Japanese, conditions were chaotic and it was not easy to make flight arrangements, it might have been possible for the Japanese to permit Bose to take five or six of his colleagues with him, as indeed, he was most anxious to do. The evidence is that when Bose was informed of the arrangements for his flight beyond Saigon, he gave unrestrained expression to his irritation and was even prepared to abandon the whole plan of escape. He said that he would not proceed beyond Saigon. He was, however, prevailed upon by his colleagues and by Ishoda to accept the offer of the two seats and take Habibur Rahman with him before all flights of Japanese planes were stopped. All this shows that the esteem in which Bose was held by the Japanese was not of the order which would impel them to enter into a nation-wide conspiracy and compel a number of high army officers to perjure themselves. There is no record in history of such a conspiracy or of the suborning of such extensive false testimony in order to give shelter to one individual. So, there could be no question of prevailing upon respectable military officers to perjure themselves in a cause which bore no relation to their own personal safety or honour and was certainly not a matter of patriotic or national importance to them. It was argued that Japanese honour demanded that these witnesses swear falsely to save Bose. But this is a wholly unacceptable hypothesis, for while on the one hand, Bose was refused accommodation for 6 or 7 of his closest associates who were not only his friends but were the members of his inner Cabinet, whose advice and support he could ill afford to lose after his escape, and on the other hand, high military officers were willing to perjure themselves for the sake of a man who was of no further use to them after their (Japanese) ignominious and abject surrender. With Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasted by the fire of Atom bombs, the Japanese national pride grovelling in the dust, their King whose status and virtues were always looked upon as godly, humble and humiliated, their economy shattered and their country about to be occupied by an alien army, the Japanese could not possibly have launched on a risky and wholly unprofitable venture. They agreed to send Bose to Russia, at his special request, and took steps to carry out his wishes. In fact, towards the end, they were entirely unaccommodating, and Bose complained that the Japanese were "changing the plan". Also when the war had ended and when conditions in the Japanese army were so chaotic, there could be no question of the Japanese agreeing to secrecy, subterfuge or dissimulation for a person who was, as far as they were concerned, an alien, who had been useful to them up to a point but whose efforts had failed to achieve anything in the war. There was no demand by the Allies that Bose should be handed over to them, and there was absolutely no necessity of inventing and advertising an alibi for him.

4.59 Many of these witnesses appeared before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee when it visited Japan, and related the same story. There was then still less need for them to perpetrate a totally false story of an aircrash. They had not appeared and deposed on oath on any previous occasion. Therefore, there could be no question of their being compelled, in conscience, to repeat a false story. The Shah Nawaz Khan Committee was the first committee before which they gave evidence on oath, and eleven years after the incident when conditions had become peaceful, when the trial of the war criminals was over and finished with, when there was no demand for Bose by anyone, his name was not on any list of war criminals, when nothing could be gained by these witnesses telling lies, they are alleged to have given false evidence on oath. Such a hypothesis just does not make sense. By deposing to a false story, they could not hope to support or advance any cause. When questioned during the proceedings of this Commission, they repelled the suggestion that they had told lies to help Bose escape to safety. In fact, there was never at any time, either in 1956 or now, any danger that threatened Bose, were he alive. As early as 1946, Vallabhbhai Patel had publicly declared on the floor of the Assembly Chamber in Delhi that if Bose were alive, he would be free to come to India and move about as and when he pleased, and as I shall presently show, Bose's name was not borne on any list of war criminals and he could have made a public appearance without any risk to his person or honour.

4.60 Let us next turn to the discrepancies in the statements of the various witnesses who have testified to the story of the crash and Bose's death. In this connection, it must be remembered that the witnesses, when given their evidence before me, were recalling events that had occurred nearly 25 years previously. Several of them had, no doubt, deposed before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee in 1956, and had, on that occasion, had the opportunity of refreshing their memories. But even since that event 14 years had elapsed. Any one with some experience of hearing witnesses testify knows how impermanent, how subject to erasure, distortion and deception is human memory in the matter of minor details attending a major event. The broad facts stand out fairly clear and positive, but all else is enveloped in the mist of oblivion. Memory is prone to play tricks and conjure up imaginary pictures to provide verisimilitude to the more easily remembered incident of a murder, an air crash, a death or a rescue. So, the exact position of the murderer and the number of blows he inflicted, the exact trajectory of a falling aircraft, the side to which it listed, its point of contact with the ground are only vaguely or inaccurately remembered. Thus, too, an eye-witness may, in course of time forget the exact time of someone's death. A doctor who has to deal with and treat thousands of patients may not remember how a particular patient was dealt with and who was present at the time of his admission to the hospital or at the time of his death. Inevitably there will be contradictions and discrepancies between the evidence of witnesses who describe an event which occurred a long time ago. Indeed, a completely consistent story is nearly always an indication of a prepared and suborned evidence. In the present case the story narrated by the witnesses is, on the whole, consistent in all its major ingredients. The demeanour of the witnesses who narrated the story of the crash, their own involvement in the catastrophe, the injuries they sustained and what happened in the hospital, impressed me as being frank and truthful. When the lapse of time had made the recollection of some minor event or insignificant detail uncertain or vague, the witnesses did not hesitate to say: "I do not remember", or "I have no memory of this."

4.61 Take for instance the evidence of Col. Nonogaki (Witness No. 53) who was Bose's co-passenger on the last lap of the journey between Saigon and Taipei and received minor injuries in the crash. It was; said about him that he did not know Bose before, he had not seen him die and he was not able to see his face in the hospital because it was completely bandaged. Therefore, it was argued, the statement of Col. Nonogaki amounts at most to hearsay evidence and should, therefore, not be admitted or, at any rate, relied upon. It was also urged that the seating order in the plane as described by Col. Nonogaki was not consistent with the seating order given by other witnesses."They found small groups of I.N.A personnel, known as the intelligence groups, were being used by the Japanese as agents and spies to collect information, which was not the type of job for which I.N.A. was meant to be used."

4.62 The witness's evidence, however, is that he met Bose on the evening of the 17th August at the Saigon airport. There could be no mistake about Bose's identity at that moment. Witnesses who know Bose will have deposed to his getting into the plane with Gen. Shidei. S. A. Iyer (Witness No. 29) Deb Nath Das (Witness No. 3), Gulzara Singh (Witness No. 153), Col. Pritam Singh (Witness No. 155) and Ishoda (Witness No. 68) all knew Bose, they were all present at the Saigon aerodrome and they saw Bose enter the plane in which Gen. Shidei was travelling. Bose was introduced to the other passengers, and it was impossible to introduce an imposter into the plane in full view of Bose's colleagues and counsellors. Nonogaki's statement is: "I met him on the evening of the 17th August at Saigon airport. It was just before he got on to the plane. I also went in the same plane." Immediately after the crash the witness saw Bose standing on the runway. "I remember the incident quite clearly and the subsequent events thereof. Especially I remember Mr. Chandra Bose was standing naked at the airport." Cross-examined on the point, he said: "These things are particularly strong in my memory. Other things are weaker."

At the hospital the witness saw Bose all bandaged up. He said that Bose was a very big person, and though his face was bandaged, from his physical features the witness was left in no doubt about Bose's identity. There was a continuity in the various incidents following the air crash. And there was no possibility of the witness suffering from hallucination or making a mistake about the identity of Bose. He was cross-examined in great detail by Mr. Trikha, and to many of his question he said: "I do not remember exactly." The following extract from the verbatim record will show that the witness gave his evidence in a natural and frank manner:

"Shri Trikha: You saw one bandaged person lying on the bed?
Col. Nonogaki: Yes.
Shri Trikha: That bandaged person who was lying on the bed was in his senses?
Col. Nonogaki: He was in his senses.
Shri Trikha: And the doctors were standing by his side.
Col. Nonogaki: I think so. I am not sure about it.
Shri Trikha: You are also not sure as to whether any nurses were present or not?
Col. Nonogaki: I am not sure.
Shri Trikha: In that hall where this bandaged person was lying on bed, there were many other patients lying on the bed?
Col. Nonogaki: No.
Shri Trikha: Did you see any bed ticket by the side of this patient who was bandaged?
Col. Nonogaki: I do not remember.
Shri Trikha: You did not ask any doctors what treatment had been given to that bandaged person?
Col. Nonogaki: No.
Shri Trikha: Did you ask the doctor that you wanted to talk to that bandaged person who was lying on bed?
Col. Nonogaki: I did not.
Shri Trikha: The doctor was not present when you talked to that bandaged person lying, on the bed?
Col. Nonogaki: I do not remember exactly whether there was a doctor at that time.
Shri Trikha: Did you take his permission whether you were allowed to talk with the bandaged person.
Col. Nonogaki: I do not remember exactly.
Shri Trikha: You do not remember who was the doctor who was standing there?
Col. Nonogaki: No.
Shri Trikha: What made you talk to that bandaged person at that time?
Col. Nonogaki: I thought he was dying, and I asked the interpreter to find out what he wanted to say.
Shri Trikha: You came to know that that person was dying and therefore you wanted to talk to him.
Col. Nonogaki: Yes. I heard from the doctor that he will not survive long.
Shri Trikha: Did you asked the doctor that if this patient dies his photograph should be taken?
Col. Nonogaki: I did not ask.
Shri Trikha: Do you remember who was the interpreter?
Col. Nonogaki: I have no memory.
Shri Trikha: Do you know that the person who was bandaged and lying on the bed knew Japanese?
Col. Nonogaki: I do not think he knew Japanese.
Shri Trikha: In which language that bandaged person talked?
Col. Nonogaki: I thought he could know English. So that is why I called an English interpreter and he spoke in English."

4.63 A reading of the above extract convinces one of the truthfulness with which the witness gave his evidence. Similar extracts may be given from the evidence of other witnesses, but it is sufficient to say that the discrepancies do not relate to important and significant matters. The witnesses are not consistent regarding the position of the different passengers in the plane although they all stated unanimously that Genl. Shidei and Bose were sitting in front. There are some discrepancies regarding other patients who were placed in the same room as Bose. My attention was drawn to a statement of a witness who said that there are three aerodromes at Taipei. What the witness obviously meant was that there were three runways and not three separate airfields.

4.64 Dr. Yoshimi's statement was criticised on the ground that there were contradictions between his statement made before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee and before the Commission. There are, no doubt, inconsistencies, and the witness ascribed them to the passage of time that had occurred since the events which were being deposed to. The witness stated once or twice that the statement that he was making before the Commission was truer than the statement he had made before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee. He was not concerned about who gave the blood transfusion to Bose but this matter is not important, since Dr. Yoshimi, being in overall change of the hospital, would only prescribe the treatment and not administer it himself. The actual transfusion of blood was conducted by nurses and not by doctors or surgeons. Dr. Yoshimi prescribed blood transfusion and the nurse carried it out. The evidence of Dr. Yoshimi was that he was not present at the time of transfusion. Dr. Ishii (Witness No. 69) said that he saw the nurse trying to give blood transfusion, but because she could not find Bose's vein he had to help her. I see no real inconsistency in the statement of Dr. Yoshimi and the statement of Dr. Ishii. Dr. Yoshimi was present in the hospital; he may not have been standing by Bose's bedside the whole time, and may have passed by when the transfusion was being conducted. But the important point is that there was no reason whatsoever for Dr. Yoshimi to make up a wholly false story and depose to it on oath. Dr. Yoshimi struck me as an eminently respectable individual whose status in life and whose professional pride would prevent him from committing perjury in a case with which he was in no way personally or nationally concerned.

4.65 Thus we find that the discrepancies to which Counsel have drawn my attention do not falsify the story of the crash. They are due to the passage of time and the memory of witnesses becoming somewhat vague regarding matters of detail.

4.66 Again it was argued that lack of evidence regarding the details of Bose's plan of escape and the manner in which it was to be executed is due to Bose's secretive nature and his old established and consistent practice of strictly keeping his own counsel about all his schemes. So, the argument proceeds, no one before his departure from Saigon, knew that his escape would be covered up by a false announcement of his death in an air crash. Habibur Rahman’s choice as his sole companion beyond Saigon was an essential ingredient of his plan. Habibur Rahman was chosen because he was Bose's most loyal and dedicated colleague and supporter. He alone could be trusted with the entire secret of the plan of escape, and he alone could be depended upon not to divulge the secret subsequently. Habibur Rahman has justified the trust reposed in him. He has proved himself to be a true follower of Bose by authenticating the false report of Bose's death and by adhering to the story throughout.

4.67 Mr. Mukhoty argued this matter at great length drawing attention to the statements of several witnesses who deposed to the completely dependable loyalty of Habibur Rahman. From this he sought to infer that Habibur Rahman was prepared to die or perjure himself at Netaji's behest. Therefore, Habibur Rahman’s version of Bose's end is completely false and was invented or, at any rate, asserted and proclaimed by him to provide a cover for his escape. While Habibur Rahman’s loyalty may be accepted as a proved and undeniable fact, the inferences sought to be drawn from it cannot be accepted. Habibur Rahman has not appeared as a witness in the present enquiry, and his credibility is not a matter directly in issue. The statements made by him on various occasions, including his testimony before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee, are no more than hearsay and therefore inadmissible in evidence to prove Bose's death. Far less can these statements be used to disprove the crash story. Had Habibur Rahman appeared as a witness before me and had his previous statements been put to him as he stood in the witness box, the probative value of these statements could have been assessed. The argument that because Habibur Rahman was a loyal and dedicated colleague of Netaji, therefore, he deliberately narrated a false story is wholly devoid of logic. Similar in essence and illogicality is the assertion that because Bose was by nature a secretive individual and never shared his plans with anyone expect his closest confidants, he had conceived a plan of escape of which no one knew anything and which he was able to execute. There are two non-sequiturs in this assertion (i) because no one knew of the plan, there must have been a plan; and (ii) because the crash story was broadcast, the secret plan must have been successfully executed.

4.68 Mr. Mukhoty drew pointed attention to Shri Deb Nath Das's reaction to the news about Bose's death in the Taipei hospital following the crash of the plane in which he was travelling. This is what Shri Deb Nath had to say in the matter:

"On the 22nd we were all in the same place. I think we were making some preparation for food. Around 10 or 10.30 a.m. Shri A. M. Sahay came and told us all of a sudden - I do not remember the exact words - I heard over the radio, somebody heard, that on the 18th there was a plane crash and Netaji had died in the hospital; he said such an announcement was made a little before. As soon as he told us, all of us stood in silence, standstill and prayed to God for the safety of Netaji. Because it was two or three days after the Japanese surrender. Naturally, we thought that in order to make Netaji’s exit or escape safe this plan has been made. We took it with good grace. At that time none of us felt unhappy that we were bluffed over this. We took it as a bluff and everyone of us left happy."

4.69 So, the news of the air crash was interpreted as a camouflaged or arcane information of Bose's escape to safety. Deb Nath Das felt happy that the Japanese had successfully carried out plan conceived by Bose and agreed to by the Japanese. But not a single one of the several witnesses who have spoken about the escape plan said that it had one of its ingredients a fake or a false announcement of Bose's death. The plan was only to save by taking him to Manchuria. How could, therefore, anyone interpret the radio broadcast of August 23 as a successful implementation and smooth execution of the plan and not its disastrous failure, through misfortune, as it purported to be and as everyone took it to mean. The only reason for his disbelief of the crash story Deb Nath Das gave was the delay in making the announcement. But the d clay is explained by the lack of facilities-for broadcasting available at Taipei and the need for proper processing through a recognised news agency at Tokyo, in the post-surrender conditions prevailing in the region. How can any rational person interpret delay in a matter of this kind, taking place at a time of this kind, as proof positive of the falsity of the news, when there was no previous understanding that a false announcement would be made in the event of a successful execution of the plan? It must be emphasised that Deb Nath Das gave no other reason at all for his joy.

4.70 Let us examine the evidence of the other witnesses who heard the news of the air crash, and consider how they reacted to it. S. A. Iyer (Witness No. 29) was present at the Saigon airport when Bose and General Shidei left in the bomber. Iyer was Minister for Publicity in Bose's Cabinet. He was to follow Bose as soon as an aircraft became available. He says that he went to the airport on 20-8- 1945, in the hope of getting a lift to Japan. At the airport, Rear Admiral Chuda told him that Bose was dead, but as the engine of the plane was running and making a loud noise Iyer was not quite sure what Chuda had said. Iyer left in the plane but Chuda was left behind. At Tichoi Aerodrome, where the plane next landed, Col. Tada told the witness about Bose's death in air crash. Iyer's statement was: "He said that as you know, Netaji left Saigon on the afternoon of August 17. His plane reached Tourane late in the same evening. The party rested there for the night, took off the next morning on the 18th August and landed at Taihoku in Formosa. In the afternoon, after a very brief halt, the plane took off again but soon afterwards it crashed."

4.71 The witness went on to say he was disinclined to believe Tada's story because Tada did not appear to be very communicative. At the same time Iyer did not reject Tada's story. This is clear from the witness's statement cited below:

"Commission: Did you doubt the story of the plane crash because you felt that he (Tada) was deliberately putting you off?
Iyer: He was avoiding.
Commission: You thought, he was avoiding.
Iyer: Yes I thought so. At the same time I also thought that perhaps there was no ulterior motive. I had two minds".

It is clear, however, that the witness ultimately accepted the crash story, because at Tokyo, he received Netaji's ashes at the Imperial Japanese Headquarters and helped to carry them to the Renkoji Temple. He treated the ashes with the reverence due to his leader. This, he would not have done, had he disbelieved the story of Bose's death. Iyer was asked to draft the announcement of Bose's death which was to be broadcast by the Domei News Agency, and he did so. This further goes to confirm the witness's belief in the death story. In 1951, the witness went to Japan to enquire into the properties belonging to INA in India and abroad. In this connection he paid a brief visit to Tokyo. Before he left India he was asked by the Government to report on:

(i) the exact facts about the ashes of Subhas Bose kept in a temple in Japan; and
(ii) authentic information regarding the gold and jewellery carried by him on his last known plane flight.

4.72 Iyer prepared a report in which he discussed the story of the fatal air crash in considerable detail. The view expressed by him was that Netaji had, in fact, succumbed to injuries sustained by him in an aircrash on the Taihoku airfield. He went on to say "in conclusion I would repeat that I have not the faintest doubt in my mind that the ashes that are enshrined in the Renkoji temple in Tokyo are of Netaji's....."

4.73 The witness has written a book "UNTO HIM A WITNESS", and in this book also the witness reiterated his belief that Bose's plane had crashed and he had died at Taihoku. Iyer was present at the Saigon airfield when Bose left, and he heard nothing about a secret plan of making a false announcement of an aircrash and of Bose's death in order to cover up his escape.

4.74 Another witness Gulzara Singh (Witness No. 153) was also present at the Saigon airport when Bose left with General Shidei. Gulzara Singh was taken to Hanoi subsequently, and there on the 22nd August, he heard the story of the aircrash. He behaved as if he accepted the story as true, although he said that somebody brought the news that Bose's plane was seen crossing Manchuria.

4.75 Col. Pritam Singh (Witness No. 155) heard the news of Bose's death, on the radio, when he was at Hanoi. He said he did not believe it because he thought that the Japanese would have to "give some sort of story to save their skin because Japan was going to be occupied by the Anglo-American powers and they could not escape themselves unless some such story was made". This reason for his disbelief is wholly unconvincing. Neither Gulzara Singh nor Pritam Singh had heard of any plan to make a false announcement of Bose's death. The last witness, to whose evidence I shall draw attention is Abid Hussain (Witness No. 157). He too heard of the air crash when he was at Hanoi. Nobody said that the news was false or that it was intended to be a cover for Bose's escape. He was specifically questioned on this point. He said that he was quite sure that the air crash story was not a cover.

4.76 Therefore, apart from Deb Nath Das and Pritam Singh, none of the witness who heard the news of the air crash disbelieved it, and the reason Deb Nath Das has given is wholly unconvincing. Some witnesses quite frankly and honestly said that they were inclined to disbelieve the news because they wished Bose to be alive. Indeed, an emotional resistance to accepting the tragedy of Bose's death can be the only reason for any reluctance to believe its truth. It would have been otherwise if Bose's plan of escape, to the specific knowledge of the witnesses, who were on intimate terms with him and who were his colleagues and advisers, was that five days after Bose's escape to safety, a false story of an air crash and his death would be broadcast. This neither Deb Nath Das nor the other four witnesses to whose evidence I have drawn attention, say.

4.77 Mr. Mukhoty has, however, interpreted this lack of knowledge as corroboration of Bose's habitual and deliberate exclusion of his closest colleagues from his secret plans. And yet, he is alleged to have shared this plan with all its details with the Japanese, because only through them could the plan have been executed.

4.78 Therefore the argument is that although Bose was prepared to share the secret of his plan with a number of Japanese officers, none except Habibur Rahman, out of his own colleagues and supporters, knew anything about it. Is it possible that Bose should have placed greater trust in the Japanese than in the members of his own Cabinet, specially when he remembered that the Japanese had, towards the end of the war, shown scant respect or regard for him. From the beginning they had wanted him as their tool, a pawn in their hands, who could be made to move in compliance with their plans and wishes. They had treated Rash Behari Bose and Mohan Singh in the same manner. That role could no longer be played by Bose when the war ended, because there was then no prospect of a Japanese victory and there was no occasion for a fresh expedition or enterprise in which Bose could be made to play a useful part. Bose was fully aware of this state of affairs. The provisions, transport and ammunition supplied to him during the Burma campaign left much to be desired, the local Japanese commanders had exercised their own discretion, often to the detriment of Indian interests and aspirations. They had, even twitted the Indians, saying: "Puppets? What is the harm in being puppets? You should be proud to be puppets of the Japanese." The command of the Andaman Islands was denied to Bose, and the Japanese transferred only a portion of their authority to his nominee - Loganadhan. They had denied him the use of the special plane which had earlier been placed at his disposal. He was denied accommodation for his colleagues in the bomber which was to leave Saigon. Bose had bitterly complained to his colleagues of a change of plan by the Japanese. He was so angry and resentful that he was prepared to stay on and not go beyond Saigon. He mistrusted the Japanese after their ignominious defeat. In the circumstances, is it possible that he would confide to the Japanese a secret which he kept back from his colleagues, and would enter into a conspiracy with them to the exclusion of his own men and trusted lieutenants? The answer to these questions must be a categoric and emphatic 'no'.

4.79 Again, is it possible that the Japanese who had begun to behave in this cavalier manner towards Bose would enmesh themselves in a web of conspiracy hurriedly woven at the last moment, and refuse to emerge from it into the light of truth for 27 years? Why should the Japanese who have deposed about the crash,-perjure themselves in this manner? Mr. Mukhoty's entire argument on this point savours of an assertion that the existence of a specified object in a totally dark room is proved, because the darkness prevents us from seeing it and disproving its absence, thus making its very invisibility proof positive of its existence.

4.80 It was next argued that strangely only persons who did not know Bose were selected to accompany him on the Journey beyond Saigon, and no members of the Hikari Kikan who knew him and who could be expected to be of assistance and support to him, during and after the journey, went with him. Nor were his personal associates and members of his Cabinet chosen for this purpose. These people, it was argued, could have looked after him and provided the necessary moral and material support. Moreover, the only survivors were the passengers who were not to go to Manchuria, the destination of Genl. Shidei and Bose. The survivors had to go elsewhere. So it was argued, it is impossible to believe the story of the crash. The Japanese would not have pushed the Head of an independent State recognised by no less than nine independent countries and who, up to the present day, is referred to as His Excellency Chandra Bose into an already full plane, Nor would he have been unceremoniously hustled into a bomber with strangers. Mr. Mukhoty's argument predicates that Bose and the persons who were to go to Manchuria did, in fact, get there, but they were falsely reported to have died. The persons who were not to go to Manchuria were said to have survived because they did not go with Bose.

4.81 The argument pre-supposes that the flight was specifically arranged to implement a fake plan, conceived primarily for Bose's benefit, a plan which was duly executed. But the evidence shows that the flight was arranged in order to carry Genl. Shidei and other Japanese officers, who had been posted to Manchuria. Indeed, the two seats placed at the disposal of Bose were spared very reluctantly, and at first, only one seat for Bose himself was being allotted. So, in the very nature of things, Bose and Habibur Rahman were a sudden and unanticipated addition to an almost full complement of the load of the aircraft coming from Manila and flying to Dairen. It will be remembered that the two planes which had brought Bose and his companions to Saigon had gone back. The Japanese had, no doubt, agreed, in principle, to convey Bose to a place of safety such as Manchuria, but they had not assigned him any accommodation on a specific plane before Bose's arrival at Saigon; nor had they worked out the details of his escape plan. From Saigon onward Bose's journey depended on what transport would be available and when. It is needless to repeat that post-war conditions were so chaotic and uncertain that the Japanese could not plan or predict any flights even for their own personnel. This explains Bose's dejection at what he called a change of plan. The change was, in fact, nothing more than a change in Bose's expectations necessitated by the rapidly changing conditions after Japan's surrender, and the acceleration of American activity in stopping all unauthorised flights by the Japanese and taking possession of Japanese military stations including Saigon and Taihoku. So, there is nothing surprising in Bose's co-passengers being total strangers to him, strangers who were on the plane not as his companions, protectors or his adjuncts, but in their own right/on their own business, on way to the places of their new posting.

4.82 The evidence of Lt. Genl. Ishoda (Witness No. 68) on this point sets the matter free from doubt. He said that the Field Marshal Terauchi had forbidden the use of Bose's personal plane beyond Saigon, so Bose had to be accommodated in whatever aircraft became available. Ishoda went with Bose as far as Saigon and there made arrangements for Bose's journey to Manchuria. The following passage from his deposition before the Commission may be quoted:

"I stayed in Saigon. In Saigon I was told by Staff Officer Tada that the plane in which Mr. Bose was to board could not take many persons. Mr. Bose wanted to take his Cabinet Ministers along with him, but I was told that only Mr. Bose could go with Genl. Shidei. So I went to the headquarters in Dalat where I met Commander-in-Chief, Genl. Terauchi so that Mr. Bose's request may be complied with. As a result of my negotiations with Gen. Terauchi, he allowed him to take about three members of his Cabinet along with him. The Staff Officer of Gen. Terauchi thought that perhaps three persons may be taken along with Mr. Bose. When I returned to Saigon, I was told again by Staff Officer Tada that only two members could be allowed to board the same plane along with Mr. Bose. Mr. Bose did not like that arrangement, and said 'Then I will not go'. Then I told Mr. Bose that at that time there was a risk that the flights could be stopped at any moment because of the situation. So I recommended to Mr. Bose that he should leave even if he could take only two members. By only two members I mean Mr. Bose and another member from his party. So I suggested to Mr. Bose that he should accept that arrangement for going to the Soviet Union. Then Mr. Bose had his last Cabinet meeting for about 10 minutes. After the meeting, Mr. Bose told us that he would accept that arrangement, but Mr. Bose asked us to arrange so that the other members could follow him by other planes as soon as possible. So I told Mr. Bose that 'we will make that arrangement as soon as possible. So you may please leave quickly with Gen. Shidei: Then there was the problem of luggage. Mr. Bose had many baggages and he wanted to take his baggages, but I told Mr. Bose that Gen. Shidei would arrange about his baggages and so Mr. Bose agreed to leave about one-third of his baggages behind. He took two-thirds of his baggages with him".

4.83 As far the argument that all the passengers destined for Manchuria died and the only survivors were persons who were not to go to Manchuria, the facts do not support the submission made by Counsel of the four survivors who appeared to give evidence before the Commission, two, namely, S. Nonogaki (Witness No. 53) and Taro Kono (Witness No. 63), were going to Manchuria because they had been posted there. This fact is clear from the evidence of Tadashi Ando (Witness No. 46) who said quite clearly that the persons on the plane told him that they were going to Manchuria. Also these persons were coming from Manila from where Gen. Shidei was proceeding on transfer to Manchuria. Apart from one or two passengers who were to go to Tokyo, it seems that all the others, particularly two of the survivors Nonogaki and Taro Kono, were to go to Manchuria. There is, therefore, no force in the argument that the survival of only those persons who were not to go to Manchuria supports the hypothesis of Bose's escape and a false story having been promulgated to provide an alibi.

4.84 I shall next deal with the arguments that no photographs of Bose’s dead body were taken and that Bose was not given a State funeral with the honours that his status deserved. I have repeatedly drawn attention to the post war and post-surrender conditions prevailing on territory occupied by the Americans and the complete demoralisation of the Japanese war machine. It will be remembered that several persons committed harakiri in a fit of depression' because they could not face the ignominious defect of their country, a country which had never been defeated by any external foe. After August 15, the emphasis was not on the observation of protocol and due proprieties but on promptness in carrying out whatever tasks could be performed before the Allied Forces clamped down a total ban on all Japanese movements. In the circumstances, there would be no question of according military or State honours to Bose upon his death or of taking photographs of his person. Some photographs were probably taken and these were produced by Col. Habibur Rahman, but since Habibur Rahman has not been examined as a witness and there is no evidence to prove the genuineness of these photographs I do not propose to rely upon them. I shall treat them as documents which have not been proved. This does not mean that I declare them to be false and therefore contradictory of the story of the crash and Bose's death. As far as present inquiry is concerned they were treated as if they did not exist, because it is not known in what circumstances these photographs were taken, in took them, to whom they were handed over and in what manner and through whose agency they received publicity. In any event, it seems that there was no point in taking a photograph of Bose's face, because he had sustained such extensive burns that his face was unrecognisable, though in the form of his body and his manner resemblance remained to make identification possible. I do not find any force in the argument that because no photographs were taken Bose, did not die or that because no military honours accompanied the cremation of Bose's dead body, he did not die and was not cremated; nor do I find any force in the argument that the lack of flowers or a wreath disproves the entire story of the crash and of Bose's death. In the circumstance of the case, these omissions appear to me to be perfectly natural. Indeed, I should be disinclined to believe a story of a formal and ceremonious funeral.

4.85 I come next to the argument that no flight documents relating to Bose's last flight were produced or were indeed available, and that this clearly proved that no crash had taken place on 18-8- 1945 at Taipei.

4.86 The papers in the plane must have perished in the fire, because the front portion of the plane where they would normally be kept was completely destroyed. There is no allegation or proof of an enquiry having been made into the air crash by the Japanese military authorities. In the chaotic conditions prevailing at that time, when the Japanese were hurrying to get out of Formosa, when the American forces were expected to arrive at any moment and occupy the Island, no enquiry could have been held or even contemplated. We do not know if there were any flight papers in Saigon, in Datar or at the army headquarters. Any flight papers at the Army headquarters at Datar or Saigon must have been lost or destroyed because they were not required by any authority. There is not a title to evidence that there were at any time, in existence, any flight papers relating to the flight of the bomber which undoubtedly left Saigon with Netaji and Habibur Rahman on board on August 17, 1945. It is only conjecture that such papers must have been prepared ergo, their non-production disproves the crash story. It is against reason, common sense and the rules of evidence to base a conclusion on such an unjustifiable and unsubstantiated assumption.

4.87 The Shah Nawaz Khan Committee made an endeavour to secure documentary evidence of the cause of the air crash and of Genl. Shedei's death. A request for the production of any documents bearing on these two matters was made by the Committee and was conveyed to the Japanese authorities through Indian Embassy at Tokyo. The official reply received from the Chief of the Fourth Section, Asian Affairs Bureau of Japan is quoted below:

"Dear Mr. Dar,

In compliance with the request of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Enquiry Commission, made at the Third Regular Meeting on May 26, 1956, I wish to state in reply as follows: (i) Official Enquiry Commission wherein Netaji was emplaned. As a result of investigation made at the Operation Section, Repatriation Relief Bureau, Ministry of Health and Welfare, it has been revealed that no official enquiry commission to determine the causes of the accident in question was held so far. (ii) Military Record on the death of the late Gen. T. Shidei. Two copies of the record in question, secured from the Operation Branch, Repatriation Relief Bureau, Ministry of Health and Welfare, is attached thereto as enclosures respectively.
Mentioned above be transmitted to the Commission. I should appreciate it very much if you would be good enough to transmit the above reply to the said Commission.
Sincerely Yours,
HISAJI HATTORI
Chief of the 4th Section, Asian Affairs Bureau,
GAIMUSHI."

4.88 It may be pointed out that the above letter appears in two separate parts at pages 62 and 64 of the printed copy of the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee's report. Along with this letter was sent the copy of what appears to be an application made on behalf of the deceased Genl. Shidei for promotion. The document is quoted below:

(Translation)
RYU-SEN-MAN No. 483              August 4th, 1947.
To
President of Demobilization Agency
From
Chief, Korean & Manchurian Affairs Section,
First Demobilization Bureau, Demobilization Agency.
(Subject - Application for Promotion of War-Dead) Whereas the person mentioned below comes under paragraph 5, Article 26 of ICHIFUKU (First Demobilization Bureau) No. 744 of 1946, the application for his promotion is submitted herewith for your consideration:

 

 
Date of Death   August 18, 1945
Cause of Death Death by war.
Place of Death Taihoku Airfield
Position Attached to Military Headquarters in Manchuria.
Military Rank Lieut. General
Name Tsunamasa Shidei
Date of birth January 27, 1895
Permanent Domicile   No. 24, Oku-onoe-cho-Yamashina lzushi, ma-ku, Kyoto City.
 

 

Chief, Korean and Manchurian Affairs Section
First Demobilization Bureau
Demobilization Agency
(Official Seal)
N. B. - The promotion applied for was not approved.

Military Career of Lieut. General Shidei:

 

December 25, 1915 Appointed Sub-Lieutenant of Cavalry
August 1, 1940 Appointed Major General
October 27, 1943 Appointed Lieut. General
May 23, 1945 Appointed the Chief of Staff of Japanese Corps in Burma
August 18, 1945 Died by war in Formosa.

 

Examined and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(Seal)
(Sd.) YASUTERU, ASAHINA, Secretary Ministry of External Affairs (Archives Section) June 4, 1956.

It will be seen that the promotion applied for was not approved by the Ministry of External Affairs.

4.89. Counsel made use of this document to argue that Genl. Shidei had not died in Taihoku but had died subsequently in Manchuria, because the position of Genl Shidei is mentioned as: "attached to military headquarters in Manchuria". Counsel argued that Genl. Shidei could have been so described only after he had taken over charge at Manchuria. If he had died at Taihoku in an aircrash he would not have been so described. The fallacy in this argument is that an official designate is so described as soon as orders are passed appointing him to a certain post or transferring him to another place, and if he dies in transit he may, without error, be described as holding the post to which he was appointed or attached to the organisation to which he was going. The document clearly mentions the date of death as August 18, 1945 and the place of death as Taihoku airfield. Therefore, it is clear that, in the application for promotion made on behalf on Genl. Shidei, his death at Taihoku airfield on August 18, 1945 was clearly accepted as a proved fact. This document, therefore, furnished a clear corroboration of the story of the crash and of Genl. Shidei's death in it.

4.90. The letter quoted above also makes it clear that no official enquiry into the air crash was made by the Japanese authorities. In the very nature of things, no such enquiry could have been made at that time, and the lack of any documents relating to the crash either in the form of flight documents, of an investigation into the causes of the crash, or of a report upon the crash itself, does not disprove the story of the crash. I find no force in the argument that because this evidence is lacking, we must reject the story of the crash and treat it as having been deliberately invented to provide a cover for Bose's escape.

4.91 The next point is concerned with hospital records pertaining to the treatment administered to Bose at the Military Hospital, Taipei, his death and subsequent cremation.

4.92. It was contended in the course of the enquiry that there should have been available documentary evidence, in the form of a history sheet or bed head ticket containing details of Bose's ailment, the treatment administered to him and the progress observed. After his death, the doctor attending on him must have drawn up and signed a death certificate giving particulars of the deceased and the cause of his death. Finally, there should have been a cremation certificate to prove that Bose's dead body was duly cremated. This evidence, it was argued, should have been forthcoming from the hospital and municipal records at Taipei.

4.93. Photostat copies of two documents were produced before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee. One document purported to be a death certificate and the other an application for permission to cremate a dead body. In neither of them was the deceased's name mentioned as Subhas Chandra Bose, nor does the death of birth of the deceased correspond to the date of Bose's birth. The cause of death was stated to be heart-failure. When the Commission visited Taipei, Shri Samar Guha made earnest endeavours to find any hospital or crematorium records mentioning Bose's name, but all he could find and produce was the photostat copies of the same two documents as were produced before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee. Shri Guha did not adduce any evidence to authenticate the documents, and indeed it was conceded that the documents did not relate to Bose.

4.94. Mr. Mukhoty, while arguing his case, assumed, in the first place, that these documents related to Bose and were respectively his death certificate and an application for permission to cremate his dead body. But because the details of the deceased mentioned in these two documents did not correspond to Bose, he went on to demolish his preliminary hypothesis by saying that the documents did not relate to Bose and, therefore, Bose did not die and his dead body was not cremated. It would have been enough to dismiss this argument as self-defeating, but because the documents were produced before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee and also before this Commission and because Mr. Mukhoty relied upon them to rebut the story of Bose's death, I consider it necessary to examine the matter in some detail.

4.95. In this connection I may refer to Harin Shah, a newspaper reporter, who paid a visit to Taipei at the end of August, 1946. He made an investigation into the story of the air crash and Bose's death. He claimed to have obtained the two above mentioned documents from the municipal records at Taipei, and he handed over these to S. A. Iyer in 1951. Iyer mentioned them in the report he submitted to Mr. Nehru. Harin Shah, in 1956, published a book named "Verdict from Formosa GALLANT END OF NETAJI Subhas Chandra Bose". The theme of this book is that the story of the crash of Bose's death had been proved beyond all doubt. Harin Shah expressed the view that though the particulars given in the two documents do not, in terms, specify Bose, the documents, in fact, relate to him and therefore prove his death and subsequent cremation. He attributed the discrepancy to a desire on the part of the Japanese to keep the matter of Bose's death a complete secret.

4.96 The death certificate describes the deceased as Okara Ichiro, male, born on April 9. 1901. The cause of death is mentioned as heart-failure. The illness manifested itself on August 17, 1945 and proved fatal at 4 P.M. On August 19, 1945. The occupation of the deceased is mentioned as "non-regular member of the army at Taihoku Army Headquarters". The application for permission to cremate the dead body was made by T. Yoshimi on 21-8- 1945, to the crematorium, and the time of cremation was stated as 6 P.M. on August 22. The name of the deceased was, as in the Death Certificate, mentioned as Okara Ichiro and his date of birth as April 9, 1901. The cause of death was, as in the death certificate, 'heart-attack'.

4.97 It is clear that neither the name nor the date of birth of the deceased mentioned in these two documents is truly descriptive of Bose. Neither document mentions the cause of the death as burn injuries sustained in an air crash. Yet Harin Shah assumed that the certificate did relate to Bose. Harin Shah appeared as a witness before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee and affirmed his belief in this behalf. Harin Shah did not appear as a witness before the present Commission although he was present at one of the preliminary hearings. He had no personal information of any matter concerning Bose's disappearance, and as he did not ask to give evidence on oath, I did not consider it necessary to summon him.

4.98. Dr. Yoshimi who was the proper person to sign the death certificate as also the application for permission to cremate the dead body was examined on this point both by the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee and in the course of the present proceedings. Before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee he made the following statement:

"On the 18th of August, I had issued a medical certificate of death in respect of the deceased person writing his name in Japanese (Kata Kana) as "Chandra Bose" and giving the cause of death as "Burns of the third degree". I handed over the certificate to the Captain in charge of the guard. There was a diary kept in the hospital in which records of all patients were kept. Such a record was maintained for Mr. Bose, and there his death was also recorded. The recording was done either by myself or Dr. Tsuruta giving details of every treatment carried out. I do not know what happened to the hospital records after the war."

In the course of the present enquiry the witness made a similar statement. The following extract from the records of the proceedings may be quoted:

"Shri Chakraborty: Do you remember that you wrote the name of Chandra Bose in the certificate or you wrote some other words?
Dr. Yoshimi: I wrote his name Chandra Bose in Katakana.
Shri Chakraborty: Do you know the full name of Chandra Bose?
Dr. Yoshimi: I wrote only Chandra Bose.
Shri Chakraborty: What did you write regarding the reason of death?
Dr. Yoshimi: General burning all over the body, degree three.
Shri Chakraborty: Nothing more was written on the certificate? Dr. Yoshimi: Nothing more was written.
Shri Chakraborty: What was the age of Chandra Bose mentioned in the Certificate?
Dr. Yoshimi: I do not remember whether I wrote his age or not."

Dr. Yoshimi's previous statement made before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee on this point was read out to him and he admitted its correctness. It is, therefore, clear that the death certificate, of which the photostat copy is mentioned in Harin Shah's book, is not the document which was signed by Dr. Yoshimi in respect of Bose's death. For the same reason, the application for permission to cremate Okara Ichiro's dead body certainly does not relate to Bose.

4.99 It follows that the two documents have no evidentiary value at all, and neither of them proves or disproves anything. They relate to a totally different person and not Bose at all. Even the date of death mentioned in the certificate is a day later than the date of Bose's death. It may be mentioned here that when I went to the crematorium at Taipei and interviewed the son of the original caretaker, I showed him a photograph appearing at page 99 of Harin Shah's book and asked him if the man represented there was his father. The young man denied that the photograph was that of his father. So, at least in one respect Harin Shah is proved not to have been accurate. But whatever Harin Shah said in his book or before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee or to S. A. Iyer is not admissible in evidence because (a) Harin Shah had no personal knowledge, and (b) he did not appear as a witness, before this Commission to depose to the facts stated above. Therefore, it is erroneous to argue that because these two documents did not mention Bose's name and the date of his birth correctly they disprove Bose's death and the subsequent cremation of his dead body. The argument is in the nature of nonsequitur, for what dose not relate to an event, cannot be used to disprove it. It is tantamount to raising a phantom and then destroying it. I do not, therefore, accept the contention that these documents relate to Bose and that they disprove the factum of his death.

4.100 The next point relates to the manner in which the news of Bose's death was broadcast. Iyer's evidence is that though he was told of the air crash by Col. Tada on August 20, the news was given general publicity only three days later, on August 23, after he reached Tokyo. The draft of the broadcast was prepared by Iyer at the request of the Japanese Officers. The announcement was broadcast by the Domei News Agency.

4.101 It was argued before me that in the natural course of events, an incident of such importance would have been given immediate publicity though official media, and the delay of five days, taken together with the needless requisitioning of Iyer's services and the utilisation of a private medium, gives rise to a very serious doubt about the announcement.

4.102 The crash took place on the 18th, and Bose died late that evening. There is no evidence to show that any means of announcing the news publicly existed at Taihoku. It was sometime before the news could be conveyed to Tokyo, because at that time, the Japanese did not want their messages to be intercepted by the Americans. It may well have taken two days before Tokyo was seized of what had happened at Taihoku. Iyer was the Publicity Minister in Bose's Government, he had been a newspaperman and the fact was not unknown to the Japanese because Iyer had lived in Japan for many years. As soon as Iyer arrived he was asked to draft the announcement regarding Bose's death. This request was apparently made because the Japanese felt that Iyer would know the correct manner of describing Bose and would exercise both propriety and discretion in framing the announcement. The delay of five days in publicising the news cannot be taken as a rebuttal of the truth of the story. There is nothing to show that, in Japan, there existed any other broadcasting agency apart from the Domei News Agency. Besides, news of this type is always published by a recognised news agency rather than by a department of the Government. There seems to be nothing unnatural or extraordinary in Iyer having been asked to draft the announcement and the announcement having been made by a private news agency five days after the occurrence which it broadcast. There is no evidence of any official broadcasting station in Taipei or Tokyo.

4.103 I shall now deal with the controversy (for it is nothing less) raging round the rectangular watch with a slightly damaged rubber strap which was produced by Shri Amiya Nath Bose after persistent requests made by the Commission. It has been alleged that this watch was removed from Bose's person after his death in the Military Hospital at Taipei, and was handed over by Mr. Nehru to Sarat Chandra Bose, elder brother of Subhas Chandra Bose and father of Shri Amiya Nath Bose. Thus, the watch was relied upon as evidence corroborating the story of the air crash at Taihoku. Shri Mukhoty and Shri Dutt Majumdar repelled this contention and argued that the watch was never worn by Bose who always carried a round Omega gold watch on his wrist. So, it was contended that the watch had no connection with Bose, and its production did not, any way, corroborate the story of the crash.

4.104 The only direct evidence of the recovery of the watch from Bose's person would have been the statement of Habibur Rahman. In the absence of his evidence, the production of the watch cannot be looked upon as corroboration of the crash story. I shall, however, relate the manner in which the watch is alleged to have been recovered and what the various witnesses have said about it.

4.105 Shri Amiya Nath Bose, at the time of the production of the watch before the Commission, said that Mr. Nehru came to Calcutta in December, 1945.

"At that time Pandit Nehru was staying at our house. He was coming from Allahabad and I went to receive him at the Howrah Station, I forget by which train. I brought him to our house, and after a short time, he joined the members of the family at the breakfast table. My father and mother and, I believe, other sisters and brothers must have been there also. Panditji brought out this watch and handed it over to my father. He said that Col. Habibur Rahman had given him this watch to be handed over to father, and I remember this very well and I can more or less repeat. Panditji stated that according to Habib, Subhas was wearing this watch at the time of the air crash. He tried to remove this watch and got burns. After looking at this watch father handed it over to me and asked me to take care of it."

Shri Amiya Nath Bose was questioned, in great detail and at considerable length, about this watch. He was inclined to believe the story attributed to Habibur Rahman and to accept the fact that the watch did, in fact, belong to Subhas Chandra Bose. He expressed the opinion that his father Sarat Chandra Bose also did not doubt Habibur Rahman's story. While describing the incident when Mr. Nehru handed the watch to Sarat Chandra Bose, he said:

"I remember in December 1945 father took Netaji's death for granted. He was very moved by seeing the watch and said 'same watch....same watch'."

A suggestion was made to the witness that his uncle used to wear a round watch. He said:

"One thing I heard from many persons is that the round gold watch that he used to wear certainly did not reach Europe....That particular round gold watch could never come to East Asia."

He reiterated his belief that the round watch, which his uncle used to wear in India, never reached Europe and he had no reason to disbelieve Habibur Rahman's story. He also mentioned a round watch which had been brought by Major Swami and was handed over to Sarat Chandra Bose. This watch too was said to have been worn by Subhas Chandra Bose.

4.106 Witnesses have made totally contradictory statements about the matter of this watch. Aurobindo Bose (Witness No. 165) son of Suresh Chandra Bose, said that Subhas Chandra's father had made a present of a round watch to him. Dwijendra Nath Bose (Witness No. 162) another nephew of Subhas Chandra Bose said: "that watch was a gift from Subhas's mother and Subhas was so passionately attached to it that he would never part with it. He wore it even when he went to jail, and obtained the permission from the jail superintendent to keep on wearing it." Amiya Nath Bose has already said that the watch was not a gift from Subhas's mother and, in any event, that watch never reached Europe. Uttam Chand Malhotra, who hosted Bose in Kabul, stated that the round watch which Bose was wearing, when arrived, was left behind. It was given to Bhagat Ram and from Bhagat Ram, it was taken away by a policeman. Therefore, the round watch, about which Bose's nephews speak, whether it was a gift from his mother or from his father, was left behind at Kabul. There is really no satisfactory evidence of what watch Bose was wearing when he left Saigon on his last journey. Bhaskaran stated that Bose was wearing a round watch. But Bhaskaran's statement has been seen to be wholly unreliable and I am not prepared to accept his testimony on this point. Evidence in the form of photographs taken at various times and published in books, was produced by Shri Samar Guha. The matter is, however, inconclusive because, according to one statement, Bose wore more than one watch. He was given a present of several watches by the Philippines. Some of these he distributed to his officers, and some he retained with him either for further distribution or for his own personal use. Shah Nawaz Khan stated, in the course of his evidence, that Bose used to wear a round as well as a rectangular watch. I do not see anything extraordinary in a person changing his watch. In my view, quite undue importance has been attached to this matter, and although the indication seems to be that this watch was indeed recovered from Bose's dead body. I do not consider its production constituting important corroboration of the crash story. In any event if the watch did not belong to Bose, it cannot disprove the crash story because the watch, which was alleged to have been recovered by Habibur Rahman, passed through many hands and there is also evidence that when Habibur Rahman was confined in the Red Fort it was stolen from him by some souvenir hunter. One thing, however, is certain that Shri Amiya Nath Bose has taken great care of this watch and for a considerable time he was most reluctant to part with it. It was only when the request to produce it was repeated several times that he became prepared to make it an exhibit in these proceedings. It seems to me, therefore, that despite all the protests and denials of the Bose family, Shri Amiya Nath Bose, at any rate, believes that the watch belongs to his uncle Subhas Chandra Bose and is to be valued and treated with reverence and affection.

4.107 My attention was drawn to the fact that when the watch was handed over to Sarat Chandra Bose the hands showed the time to be 1.10. The time of the accident is said to have been 2.35. This was alleged to be another circumstance which contradicts the crash story. The hands, can, however, be easily manipulated as I have personally tested. The watch is said to have passed through many hands and was handed over to Shri Sarat Chandra Bose about four months after it was removed from Bose's person, and any one could have by accident or design changed the time. Some people have an irresistible impulse to wind a watch or rotate its hands playfully, when the watch is in their hands and this may well be the explanation for the time 1.10 showing on the dial of the watch.

4.108 Another matter over which some time was expended relates to the allegation that Bose had a gold or gold-covered tooth. The significance of this allegation is that no attempt was made to examine the ashes now resting in the Renkoji Temple in Tokyo to see if the ashes contained any gold. Two members of Bose's family have made contradictory statements on this point. Shri Amiya Nath Bose said that there were gaps in his teeth and he had one or two gold teeth. "There was gold on one tooth at least; it was bound with gold." On the other hand, Shri Aurobindo Bose stated: "So long as he was in India, we were very close to him personally, he did not have any gold tooth here." None of the persons who sought to challenge the crash story on this ground saw Bose after he left India. No one would think of shifting the ashes of a dead person in order to find any gold in it unless there was some meaningful purpose in doing so. After the cremation there was no question of identification and no one would try to examine the ashes to find a quantity of gold in them. Later, when the ashes were taken to Tokyo and placed in the Renkoji Temple, no one thought of committing the sacrilege of opening the urn and examining the ashes. When the evidence of the members of his own family is so contradictory, it will be pointless to pursue the matter further. At most the gold was no more than a drop when melted and might easily have been lost. Habibur Rahman, in the course of his deposition before the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee said:

"I remember distinctly that a little piece of gold which was from the filling of one of Netaji's teeth was removed and placed in the urn."

But since Habibur Rahman has not appeared as a witness in the present proceedings, his previous statement cannot be treated as evidence and I do not propose to take it into consideration. Shri Samar Guha very pertinently pointed out that a gold tooth would have been a distinct hazard when Netaji was travelling incognito in 1941, as it would have facilitated identification, and he may well have removed that tooth had it been a gold one. In view of the contradictory statements of Shri Amiya Nath Bose and Shri Aurobindo Bose, however, it is impossible to come to any conclusion in whether Bose did have a gold tooth or not and, in the circumstances, the omission to examine the ashes at Renkoji Temple is a matter of no significance. If upon examination, now the ashes do not yield any clue, the story of the aircrash cannot be said to have been contradicted because (i) Shri Aurobindo Bose said that Netaji had no gold tooth, (ii) according to Shri Samar Guha, a gold tooth, if it were there, would have been a hazard and might well have been removed, and (iii) the infinitesimal quantity of gold which constituted the gold filling might well have been lost. On the other hand, the presence of a piece of gold can always be explained away by saying that it could have been introduced into the ashes by someone determined to prove the story of the aircrash and Bose's death at Taipei.

4.109 A strange and, to a person trained in the processes and procedures of judicial investigation, an utterly irrelevant argument is that because many persons including some highly placed and responsible individuals have, from time to time, expressed doubts about the truth or the credibility of the crash story, it must be held to have been disproved. Opinions or beliefs of persons who have no first hand information of the subject matter of an inquiry are wholly inadmissible in evidence, and they cannot be taken into consideration for the purpose of determining the truth or to formulate conclusions about what happened. Opinions are allowed to be cited only in certain specified cases and for certain specified purposes. These are set out in Sections 45 to 51 of the Indian Evidence Act. Of these 7 sections, Section 45 is the only relevant section. This reads as follows:

"When the court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law, or of science or art, or as to identity of handwriting (or finger impressions), the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law, science or art, (or in questions as to identity of handwriting) (or finger impressions) are relevant facts.

Such persons are called experts."

Illustrations

(a) The question is, whether the death of A was caused by poison. The opinions of experts as to the symptoms produced by the poison by which A is supposed to have died, are relevant.
(b) The question is, whether A, at the time of doing a certain act, was, by reason of unsoundness of mind, incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law. The opinions of experts upon the question whether the symptoms exhibited by A commonly show unsoundness of mind and whether such unsoundness of mind usually renders persons incapable of knowing the nature of the acts which they do, or of knowing that what they do is either wrong or contrary to law, are relevant.
(c) The question is, whether a certain document was written by A. Another document is produced which is proved or admitted to have been written by A. The opinions of experts on the question whether the two documents were written by the same person or by different persons, are relevant.

4.110 Of the remaining sections, Section 46, relates to facts bearing upon opinions of experts, Section 47 to opinion as to handwriting. Section 48 to opinion as to existence of right or custom, Section 49 to opinion as to usages, tenets etc. Section 50 to opinion on relationship, while Section 51 merely says 'whenever the opinion of any living person is relevant, the grounds on which such opinion is based are also relevant.'

4.111 A reading of the terms of Section 45 shows that the opinions and beliefs private of individuals about a matter like the death of Subhas Chandra Bose or the circumstances in which he disappeared cannot be treated as the opinions of experts. Nobody, how so ever highly placed or how so ever responsible, can be said to be an expert in the sense used in Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act. Therefore, any opinion held by Mr. Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi or any other person cannot be said to be the opinion of an expert as defined by the Indian Evidence Act and admissible under Section 45 of the Act.

4.112 It will be seen that, by and large, opinions of experts are admitted in only special cases as the illustrations to the sections show. A doctor is an expert on the matter of illness, death, symptoms of illness and causes of death. If the death of a person is a matter in issue the opinion of a doctor who makes inferences from observed symptoms or on examination of the chemical contents of his stomach or viscera will certainly be admissible under this Section. Similarly, if an inquiry is being made into the value of a building or its structural strength the opinion of an engineer or an expert valuer will be admitted. Neither the doctor nor the engineer had any personal knowledge of the manner in which the deceased died .or the circumstances in which the building was constructed. What they say about the matter is the result of their subsequent inspection and is based on their training and expert knowledge. Their opinion is, therefore, admissible. But to travel beyond the bounds laid down in the Indian Evidence Act would be to enter the dangerous territory in which wild conjecture, hopeful speculation, wishful thinking, misguided enthusiasm or a desire deliberately to mislead hold unbridled sway. If the opinion of a person who has heard stories about Bose from others were to be taken into account, pride of place must be accorded to the majority report of the Committee presided over by Shri Shah Nawaz Khan, for this Committee based its opinion not upon rumours or upon the beliefs and disbeliefs of individuals how so ever highly placed, but upon the sworn testimony of persons who claimed to possess first hand knowledge of the facts to which they were deposing.

4.113 But, at the very start of this inquiry I declared that the findings arrived at by that Committee were inadmissible in evidence and certainly not binding upon me. In this view of the matter, neither the majority report nor the dissentient report prepared by Shri Suresh Chandra Bose can be looked at as evidence. Nor has the oral testimony of Shri Suresh Chandra Bose any probative value, for it amounts to nothing more than his opinion resting on what he has heard second hand. If his opinion is to be taken into consideration, the opinion of his two colleagues must also be looked at and treated as evidence. Then, by the sheer logic of numbers the majority report must be given greater weight. We should then be driven to the absurd conclusion that this Commission could, without holding any inquiry, have adopted the findings of Shri Shah Nawaz Khan and Maitra.

4.114 It must, however, be conceded that the arguments set out in both the majority report and the dissentient report can legitimately be adopted by Counsel and urged by him to support or to rebut a specific version or hypothesis. Counsel, were indeed, allowed to do this. Therefore, though almost the entire long and rambling statement of Shri Suresh Chandra Bose is inadmissible in evidence, many of the arguments upon which he placed his conclusions were allowed to be advanced by Shri Mukhoty and Shri Dutt Majumdar. There is nothing strange or anamolous in excluding this argument when uttered by Shri Suresh Chandra Bose and admitting it when spoken by Counsel, for the one is the mere opinion of a non-expert and the other is commentary on evidence produced in the course of the present inquiry. Shri Suresh Chandra Bose's statement was made as if it were a piece of evidence, though it was no more than his opinion based on material which is not before the Commission. Counsel's arguments on the other hand related to evidence heard by the Commission. The two thus fall into entirely separate categories.

4.115 Counsel has relied upon opinions expressed at different times by Mr. Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Radhakrishnan, Shrimati Vijay Lakshmi Pandit and other persons, though none of them had any personal knowledge of the matters under enquiry. These opinions are wholly inadmissible in evidence but since the argument was advanced with considerable vehemence I propose to deal with the matter briefly.

4.116 Let us first take the opinion expressed by Mr. Nehru. It is said that in reply to a letter of 12-5- 1962, from Suresh Chandra Bose, Mr. Nehru said:

"You ask me to send you proof of the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. I cannot send you any precise and direct proof. But all the circumstantial evidence that has been produced and which has been referred to in the Inquiry Committee's report has convinced us of the fact that Netaji has died".

This statement has been construed as an expression of opinion that no precise and direct proof of Bose's death existed and therefore, in Mr. Nehru's opinion, Bose had not been proved to have died. It is clear that when we read Mr. Nehru's reply in full the interpretation sought to be placed upon is a gross travesty of what he said. Mr. Nehru had throughout taken the stand that he believed in Bose's death, all though even such belief would not be admissible in evidence on the grounds stated above.

4.117 On another occasion, Mr. Nehru is alleged to have said that he had no conclusive proof of Bose's death. It is not clear in what context Mr. Nehru made this statement but if by conclusive proof we understand proof which cannot be rebutted as laid down in Section 4 of the Indian Evidence Act, then undoubtedly Mr. Nehru had no conclusive proof of Mr. Bose's death. This, however, does not mean Mr. Nehru disbelieved the story of the air crash and Bose's death. Mr. Nehru's words have been distorted and misinterpreted.

4.118 Another argument advanced is that though Mr. Nehru was unwilling for some time to order an inquiry into Bose's disappearance, he was finally prevailed upon to appoint a Committee. When the Committee submitted its report the government accepted it and Mr. Nehru in his subsequent replies to questions, asked in Parliament, said that he was convinced of the truth of the crash story, and that there was no further need to order a second inquiry. Mr. Nehru's decision to appoint the first Committee has been interpreted as arising from a doubt entertained by him regarding the truth of the crash story. For the same reason when Mrs. Gandhi agreed to the appointment of the present Commission, her concession to the demand of a large number of Members of Parliament was construed as a doubt in her own mind regarding the truth of the crash story. Neither the order of the Mr. Nehru nor the decision of Mrs. Gandhi to direct an enquiry into the disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose was the consequence of a personal doubt or disbelief in their own minds; but, in any event, any number of doubts, any measure of disbelief cannot add up to anything. The value of such doubt is zero and the sum total of several zeros is no more than zero. It is clear that any doubt entertained by anyone, who has no first hand information, is of no significance whatever, when we are measuring the quantum or the value of the evidence upon which a finding can be based. If the person who entertained the doubt were to state the reasons for his doubt or the material which had led him to disbelieve a certain fact <or event, we should examine the intrinsic worth of such reason or material and come to an independent finding. For this purpose and to this extent alone are doubts relevant. Doubts and disbeliefs per se have no value whatsoever, and must be firmly excluded from consideration. Mr. Nehru's change of mind, if it can be called a change of mind, when he appointed the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee was a concession to public demand. In a democracy such concessions are often made even against one's better conviction, in response to the demand of a few individuals who are more vocal and more vociferous than millions of others who are content to accept the happening of an event and have no wish to question it. Such a decision often means no more than that the Government in power has nothing to conceal. The Government's good faith and its truly democratic nature are proved all the more convincingly by what may prove to be a redundant inquiry. This is the real justification for what may seem to many a pointless and unrewarding exercise. Therefore, there is no force in the argument that Mr. Nehru's decision to appoint the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee implied a belief, entertained by Mr. Nehru, on good and cogent grounds, that Bose did not die as a result of injuries sustained by him in an air crash.

4.1 19 As regards Mahatma Gandhi, the contention of Counsel is that when he heard of Bose's death he said that his inner voice told him that Bose had not died. He is alleged to have sent a wire to the Bose family at Calcutta not to perform the Shradh ceremony, which is performed only in the case of a dead individual. Also he is alleged to have said that Bose was a great man and he was alive. If Mahatma Gandhi did say these things they could only have been prompted by his deep respect for Bose and a desire to see him alive. When anyone near and dear to us, or anyone great is reported to have died, we are reluctant to reconcile ourselves to the loss and so we do not believe in his death. Mahatma Gandhi's expression amounts to nothing more than such wishful thinking or a symbolic tribute to Bose. There is however, no direct evidence of any message from Mahatma Gandhi dissuading the Bose family from performing the Shradh ceremony. This is merely the ipse dixit of one or two members of the Bose family, and I am not convinced of the truth of what they have said in this behalf. Prof. Guha stated in the course of his examination, that in Mysore somebody asked Gandhiji what he thought about the report of Bose's death. Gandhi replied that if some one were to show him Netaji's ashes, even then he would not believe that Subhas was not alive. Mr Guha did not say that he was present on that occasion and what he said was a second hand report made to him by an unspecified person. So, I find it difficult to accept the correctness of this statement. I do not find it recorded anywhere and it is not clear what exactly Gandhiji said and meant. In any event, I cannot, on the basis of this second-hand statement, accept the contention that Gandhiji disbelieved the story of the crash and therefore the crash never took place. I have already pointed out instances of exaggerations and misstatements which have been prompted by a refusal to believe the story of Bose's death despite overwhelming evidence to support it.

4.120 As regards Dr. Radhakrishnan, his name was specifically mentioned by Shri Goswami, who said that he presented a copy of his book "Netaji Mystery to Dr. Radhakrishnan" and on that occasion, Dr. Radhakrishnan said: "Well, I know of Netaji's existence in 1948". He went on to say that he (Dr. Radhakrishnan) went to Russia and there Subhas Babu came to see him and requested him to make arrangements for his (Bose's) return to India. This is alleged to have happened in 1954. Dr. Satyanarayan Sinha made a somewhat similar statement and stated that, in Paris when he was acting as Dr. Radhakrishnan's interpreter from Russian into English, Dr. Radhakrishnan gave him to understand that to his knowledge Bose was alive and was in Russia.

4.121 Extracts from the statement of Shri S. M. Goswami were sent to Dr. Radhakrishnan for his comments. He sent a prompt reply saying: "I have read verbatim report of Shri S. M. Goswami's statement, which you were good enough to send me. The last time I met Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was in Darjeeling in the summer of 1940 and I have not made to Shri Goswami any of the statement he has attributed to me."

4.122 Dr. Radhakrishnan was too ill to be examined orally. But he is a far more reliable and upright person than Shri Goswami and I can not give preference to Shri Goswami's statement over the written reply sent by Dr. Radhakrishnan. Shri Goswami was merely inflating his ego, as has been discussed in greater detail in another part of this report.

4.123 With regard to Smt. Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, she has sent an affidavit to the effect that she had never met Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in any connection after he left India. There is no reason whatsoever for disbelieving this affidavit. It is far more reliable and acceptable than the evidence of a host of witneesses who have made incredible statements about encounters with Bose at different times and at different places.

4.124 There is one more matter about which a brief mention must be made. Lord Wavell was the Viceroy of India in August 1945 and he heard the news of Bose's death in Taipei. Upon a first impression he recorded in his Journal "I wonder if the Japanese announcement of Subhas Bose's death is true." He felt somewhat sceptical, and thought that this would be the sort of statement which the Japanese would make, if Bose were going underground. In subsequent entries in his Journal, Lord Wavell took Bose's death as proved and repeatedly referred to him as a dead person. These entries appear in the book Viceroy's Journal by Wavell.

4.125 A statement attributed to Lord Mountbatten has been also mentioned in the course of these proceedings. He is alleged to have recorded that Subhas Chandra Bose has once more escaped. If he did make this comment it obviously meant that the Allied Military authorities had not been able to capture Bose alive. Mountbatten's observations cannot be taken to mean that he had information of Bose's escape to a place of safety.

4.126 These so called doubts and beliefs, therefore, amount to nothing, and the argument of learned Counsel that because eminent persons, holding responsible positions expressed doubts about the truth of the crash story, the story was false, has no force or validity. These persons had no personal knowledge. They were giving expression to their views at a time when no proper inquiry into the matter had been made. Indeed, in the earlier enquiry carried out by the personnel of the British Intelligence the finding was to the effect that Habibur Rahman's story was true and that Bose had, in fact, died.

4.127 With regard to the other persons who have expressed their opinions and beliefs it is sufficient to say that these persons were actuated not by a desire to tell the truth but by other motives. The evidence of many of them has been discussed in another part of this report and the worthlessness of their evidence demonstrated. There are others who do not merit even a passing mention because their opinions or beliefs are nothing more than a figment of their imagination or deliberate falsehood calculated to draw attention to themselves.

4.128 After giving the most anxious consideration to all the available evidence, the criticism to which the statements of the various witnesses were subjected and the arguments advanced by counsel, I have reached the conclusion that the story of the air crash at the Taihoku airfield in Taiwan and the subsequent death of Bose, resulting from burn injuries sustained by him in the crash must be believed. This story is substantiated by the testimony of wholly independent witnesses, four of whom were Bose's co-passengers in the plane which crashed, one is the doctor who attended to him and signed his death certificate and several others mentioned in the course of this chapter who have corroborated this story in all material particulars. I am not prepared to accept the contention that the entire military organisation of Japan had entered into a conspiracy to put forward a false story in order to cover up Bose's escape. Such a hypothesis is foreign to reason and to human nature. Most of the witnesses who gave evidence impressed me by their frank and honest demeanour. The Doctor, too, appeared to be a most convincing witness of truth. The criticism advanced against the testimony of these witnesses has been discussed by me in the foregoing pages, and in the end, it is only necessary to say that this criticism does not shake the strength and the value of the evidence.

4.129 I, therefore, find it proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Bose travelled in a Japanese bomber from Tourane to Taihoku on the morning of 18th of August, 1945. At Taihoku the plane stopped for a short time to refuel. The pilot detected a snag in one of the engines. This was attended to, and the pilot pronounced the aircraft to be airworthy. The propellers of one of the engines had been damaged in a previous accident and the repair carried out did not completely restore the efficiency of the engine. This, finally caused the crash at Taihoku, almost immediately after the plane took off. The plane crashed to the ground, broke into two parts and caught fire. In this fire the pilot and Genl. Shidei died instantaneously and of the other men on board, the co-pilot Ayoagi died later Bose also succumbed to his burn injuries during the course of the following night. His body was cremated and the ashes were taken to Tokyo.