The Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry into the alleged disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, shortened as the Mukherjee Commission, was one-man board instituted in 1999 to inquire into the controversy surrounding the death of Subhas Chandra Bose in 1945. Justice Manoj Mukherjee, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India, was appointed to lead the inquiry. After a 7 year inquiry, Mukherjee's findings that Bose did not die in the plane crash were rejected by the government.
The Mukherjee Commission is not the first commission created to ascertain the death of Subhas Chandra Bose. The two previous commissions were the Shah Nawaz Committee (appointed by Jawaharlal Nehru) and Khosla Commission respectively. The Khosla Commission, created by the government of Indira Gandhi, reported that all documents relating to Subhas Chandra Bose were either missing or destroyed.
Objectives of the commission
The purpose of the commission was to ascertain the following:
- Whether Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is dead or alive?
- If he is dead, whether he died in the plane crash as alleged?
- Whether the ashes in the Japanese temple are ashes of Netaji?
- Whether he has died in any other manner at any other place and, if so, when and how?
- If he is alive, in respect of his whereabouts.
The commission is also the first to probe into the much publicized Soviet-connection. The basics of which are that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose did indeed survive the end of the Second World War, and detained in a Siberian prison in the late 1950s. A former Russian General swore under oath to the commission, that he had seen a true Soviet-cabinet paper detailing and discussing a "living" Subhas Chandra Bose, one year after his supposed death.
The Mukherjee Commission concluded that while Bose was presumed dead given the many years that had passed, he did not die in the plane crash in Taipei in 1945. Instead the commission proposed that the crash was a ruse to allow Bose to escape with the knowledge of the Taiwan and Japanese governments of the time. The Indian government was said to have learned of the escape through a Taiwanese report in 1956, which it chose to suppress. According to the commission the ashes kept in Tokyo's Renkōji Temple that are commonly believed to be Bose's, instead were the remains of Ichiro Okura, a Taiwanese army-man who died in August 1945. The commission did not find any evidence that Bhagwanji, a monk who lived in Faridabad until his death in 1985, was in fact Bose in disguise.
Rejection of Mukherjee Commission report by the Government of India
The Mukherjee Commission report was tabled in the Indian parliament on 17 May 2006. The report concluded that Bose did not die in the alleged air crash of 1945 and the ashes at the Renkoji temple are not his ashes. The report did not comment on his alleged stay in Russia after 1945 and called for further investigation into the matter. However, the report said that he could be presumed to be dead today.
The Government of India rejected the findings of the Commission saying that it did not agree with the findings.
The death of Subhas Chandra Bose remains a mystery. It is claimed that no one cooperated in the investigation and consequently the JMC enquiry was forced to submit its unfinished work to the home minister Shivraj Patil. The main reason for this is the non-cooperation shown by the home ministry. The dissatisfaction caused resulted in Justice Mukherjee sending the report through his secretary rather than submitting it in person.
During the whole tenure of the investigation, only one country, Taiwan has shown any real cooperation. Even the Govt of India refused to share some important intelligence files under the pretext of them being sensitive. The GoI will be tabling this report along with the ATR to the parliament. At the moment the home minister has passed on this 500-page report to the CS division of the ministry for scrutiny.
Subrata Bose, who was present in all the international trips made by the JMC has said that apart from Taiwan, no other country has shown any cooperation. On the basis of the information available from Taiwan it is now confirmed that no air-crash took place on 18 August 1945 which could have killed Bose.
The commission had tried to uncover facts from trips to Japan, Taiwan and Britain. The UPA govt has permitted the commission to visit Russia. Bose said that Russia too did not cooperate in this investigation. Officials in Russia had said that files were present in the former KGB archives but the commission was not even allowed to visit the archives. The hostile posture of the British, Japanese and Indian governments is intriguing and seems to strongly point to an international conspiracy. In any case it is clear that Netaji Bose was seen in Russia in 1946. Lately American state department has sent information to the commission which corroborate the fact that no aircrash took place in Taiwan. The request for intelligence papers from the Govt. of India elicited the official response that they cannot be opened as they are of a highly sensitive nature that may jeopardise international relations between India and some of its friend nations.
Many files and documents by the Union Home Ministry have been deemed a risk to national security and under Sections 123 and 124 of the Evidence Act and Article 74(2) of the Constitution of India, have not been disclosed to the commission.
Justice Mukherjee's revelation
Justice Manoj Kumar Mukherjee stated in his report that the sanyasi of Faizabad (Bhagwanji) was not Bose as there was no clinching evidence to prove it. Nor did it confirm the Swamiji of Shaulmari Ashram in North Bengal was Netaji. However, the commission supports the view that Bose had not died in the plane crash in 1945, and was in fact in India after that.
However, later Justice Mukherjee seems to claim that the monk is in fact Netaji: “It is my personal feeling…But I am 100 per cent sure that he (the monk) is Netaji"
- http://www.bjp.org/Press/July_2005/july_0805.htm last visited on July 2005[dead link]
- Nandini Guha , Rajeev Bhattacharyya , Nandini Guha , Rajeev Bhattacharyya (18 May 2006). "Netaji’s dead but didn’t die in crash, says report; long live the mystery". The Indian Express. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- http://www.thestatesman.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=320039&catid=38[dead link]