Sondhi urges expansion of Netaji commission

Hindustan Times correspondent
October 15, New Delhi

Jan Sangh Member of Parliament, Prof. M.L. Sondhi, has urged President V.V. Giri and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi immediately to review the composition of the one-man Khosla Commission set up by the Government to inquire into the circumstances of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s death.

He urged that Inquiry Committee should include in it some well-known international jurists, military historians, war correspondents, aviation and forensic experts to enable it to come to some satisfactory conclusions regarding Netaji’s death.

Addressing a Press conference this morning, Prof. Sondhi said that in August 1945 when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was determined to carry on the armed struggle for Indian freedom, the Japanese were no longer willing to resist the all-out war effort of the United States.  American forces were the most active and quantitatively and qualitatively the superior element in the region.

He said the fact that U.S. forces were concerned with the fate of Netaji was amply proved by documents and that the U.S. Army Intelligence organisation compiled reports on him. War operations in the Far East had been thoroughly examined by U.S. military historians and it could be presumed that the Americans knew the truth about Subhas Chandra Bose if they would choose to disclose it.

The revelation by a responsible American journalist like Louis P. Lochner was startling and shocking for us Indians, he said.

Prof. Sondhi released a photostat copy of a reference in a book entitled “The First American Edition of the Goebbels Diaries” translated and edited by Mr. Louis P. Lochner which said:

“Subhas Chandra Bose was head of the Zentrale Freies Indian (Central Bureau for a Free India) which had its Berlin office at No. 2 Lichtenstein Allee.  With Pandit K.A. Bhatta as editor, he brought out a monthly magazine, Azad Hind, with Nazi money.  It was published with the English text on the right side, the German on the left. Later he left for Japan and, according to reports, was seized there by the Americans, tried and executed for treason.”

Dr. Louis P. Lochner, Prof. Sondhi said, was for 20 years Chief of the Bureau of the Associated Press and he was president of the Foreign Press Association in Berlin.

The book, according to Prof. Sondhi, was later published with these portions deleted.

He said that the Shah Nawaz Commission which submitted the Netaji Inquiry Committee Report in 1956 betrayed Netaji, wasted public money and misled the public of India.  By ignoring the role of the Americans, it presumably tried to shield them and prevented clarification of the matter. By refusing to visit the scene of the so-called plane crash at “Taihoku” the Shah Nawaz Commission committed a glaring offence against commonsense, fairplay and justice.

Prof. Sondhi said the new one-man Netaji Inquiry Commission (1970) headed by Justice G.D. Khosla, has not given any positive signs that its investigation would not be any different from the legal and judicial anarchy which characterised the Shah Nawaz Commission.

The Khosla Commission was a carbon copy of the Shah Nawaz Commission which had already perpetrated a fraud on the Indian people.  The Khosla Commission lacked operational capacity and its announcement was only a cover to the chronic inaction of the Government of India in fulfilling its obligation to Subhas Chandra Bose and his devoted countrymen, he said.

The Jan Sangh MP further said that a national inquiry which had earlier turned out to be a parochial inquiry would not suffice.  There were international dimensions of the problem and these could not be ignored.  The most important point was that as long as the verdict of the Tokyo trial stood an injustice was being done to Netaji, to India and to Japan.

 Prof. Sondhi demanded reconstitution and broadening of the one-man Khosla Commission to include internationally renowned jurists in order to fully comprehend the international dimensions of the problem, a nullification of the Shah Nawaz Commission Report of 1956 and institution of a CBI inquiry against its members.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Prof. Sondhi drew her attention to a reference to Netaji’s death which was published in the American version of Goebbel’s Diary in its first edition.
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