Media reports have made a shocking claim that recently declassified files of the Union Home Ministry have revealed that the family of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was placed under intensive surveillance from 1948 to 1968 by the Congress government. But the freedom fighter's family members claim they are not shocked or surprised by the revelations.
The country had three Congress Prime Ministers during these 20 years - Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi. [Jawaharlal Nehru Nehru govt spied on Netaji Bose's kin for two decades]
This report has kicked off a massive controversy and opened a can of worms for the already troubled Congress which has been pushed to the wall by the Narendra Modi-led BJP. The grand-old-party of India is facing criticism from all corners has termed it a 'sinister conspiracy to malign its image'.
Here is all you need to know about this controversy:
Intelligence Bureau shared Netaji's family details with Britain's MI5: Report
Nehru Government not only spied on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's family but also shared the confidential information with British Security Service (MI5).
According to a report in Times of India, declassified documents reveal that IB shared with MI5 a letter between close Netaji aide AC Nambiar and nephew Amiya Nath Bose acquired through "secret censorship".
Netaji's nephew alleged his Worli home was watched, phone tapped
A latest media report quoted Nejati's nephew Ardhendu Bose as saying, "Am I shocked or surprised at the latest revelations? The answer is no. My dad (Ardhendu's father Sailesh Chandra was Netaji's younger brother, who died in 1984) always suspected he was being watched and his Worli home phone tapped till the time Indira Gandhi was alive. Our family always had this suspicion," Bose told TOI.
"There was always a feeling of insecurity in the government. My father was the last of the Bose brothers alive."
Netaji's grand nephew to meet PM Modi in Berlin today
"Subhash Bose did not belong just to his direct family. He had himself said that the whole country is his family. I do not think it's just the duty of the family to raise this issue (of declassification of Netaji files)," Surya Kumar Bose, grand nephew of Bose, said.
"If I do get an opportunity to meet the Prime Minister, talk to him for a few minutes, then I would certainly raise the issue," Surya Kumar Bose added.
BJP attacks Cong over snooping on Netaji's family
The BJP-led NDA government was quick to react to the media reports and said snooping in Congress' DNA.
BJP leader and Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said,"The BJP today is definitely taking a stand that this is really surprising and shocking. Already on the dimension of snooping, research that has come out, I certainly feel that till 2010-11 snooping has become a part of Congress' DNA...We express our concern."
Subramanian Swamy said, "The documents indicated the "paranoia" that Bose instilled in Nehru. The government should declassify all Bose documents." [Cover-up on Netaji's death was led by Pranab, claims book]
Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, "Subhas Chandra Bose was a darling of the masses and this news that he and his family were spied on during those early years of independence is shocking and very, very serious. It needs to be investigated."
Congress slams 'sinister propaganda of selective leaks and half truths'
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister must explain why only 'notings on file' of the two declassified files have been released while withholding the 'correspondence portion' of the same.
Abhishek Singhvi said, "A systematic and sinister propaganda of selective leaks and half truths has been unleashed by the current BJP government to malign national icons who reshaped India's destiny, rewrote its history and made it a great nation today."
"Since the Intelligence Bureau (IB) reports directly to the Home Minister, why is BJP trying to malign the great Home Ministers and veteran freedom fighters like Vallabhbhai Patel, C Rajagopalachari, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Govind Ballabh Pant, Gulzarilal Nanda and others?," Singhvi alleged.
Questioning the credibility of selective leaks, another Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said, "What was the RSS' contribution to the freedom struggle? Those files should also be declassified. RSS was also snooped upon by the British as well as Indian intelligence. It was banned after Mahatma Gandhi's killing."
Manish Tewary of Congress said, "Nehru laid the foundation of liberalism in the country and would never be involved in any kind of surveillance on a political colleague or his family. It is completely absurd and preposterous."
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, hit out at BJP, claiming the story had been "planted" by the Modi government. "I strongly condemn this allegation. It is absolutely false and fabricated. IB reports are secret documents. Will the Government of India come out with a clarification, would it take necessary action under the Official Secrets Act?" he said.
Netaji's family demands judicial probe into snooping
- Expressing shock over reported revelations a prominent member of the clan on Friday demanded a judicial probe on the issue and that the Narendra Modi government should declassify the secret files related to Netaji, and the clan.
- "It is shocking. It is not an issue involving merely the family, but the entire nation, because several members of the family from Sarat Chandra Bose to Amiya Nath Bose as also Sisir Kumar Bose were prominent freedom fighters," Chandra Kumar Bose told media persons.
- "While it was understandable that the British government would snoop on the family because of its fight against imperialism, that the central government in post-independence India could do it, that is too shocking," he said.
Mystery about Netaji's death
- Mystery looms over Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's sudden disappearance in 1945. News came that he passed away in a plane crash in Taiwan but there is no proof regarding this widely accepted theory.
- Justice Manoj Mukherjee led Committee was appointed in 1999 to inquire into the controversy surrounding the death of Subhas Chandra Bose. The report debunked the theory about Netaji's death in the plane crash in Taiwan in 1945.
- It said that there was no record of any plane crash and no record of any charred body in any hospital in Taiwan.
- This was not the first committee formed to investigate the murder mystery. Two other committees Shah Nawaz Committee, Khosla Commission were also formed by former Prime Ministers Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, respectively.
- The Khosla Commission created by the government of Indira Gandhi reported that all the documents relating to Subhas Chandra Bose were either missing or destroyed.
- There are beliefs that the founder of the Azad Hind Fauj lived in independent India.