Make files on Lal Bahadur Shastri public, says his family

New Delhi, Sep 27: Family of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on Saturday demanded de-classification of all documents related to him amid suspicion that some "foul play" could have led to his death in Tashkent nearly 50 years ago.

Shastri's son Anil Shastri, who is also a Congress leader, said when his father's body arrived in India, it had "blue marks" and "white spots", which indicated signs of "foul play" in his death on January 11,1966.

Lal Bahadur Shastri

"I personally feel there could have been foul play. Can't say so conclusively, but the negligence is clear, everyone went scot free, no one was punished," he told a news channel.

He said no post-mortem was carried out on the body, which could reveal the exact cause of death.

"There was a butler who was arrested and released. My mother wanted to meet him when she went to Tashkent. But she was told he could not be traced," Shastri said.

He also said that it was "very shocking that both his personal physician RN Chugh and personal assistant met with accidents. Both had to depose before inquiry commissions. Coincidence twice is a little improbable."

Anil Shastri said his father's personal diary was never found.

"He jotted down notes daily in it. It could have mentioned Tashkent Agreement. Even the thermos next to him was never brought back. His death could have been from something in the thermos flask," he added.

Another son of the former PM Sunil Shastri, a BJP leader, also said that he has been requesting several Prime Ministers in the past to de-classify files pertaining to his father.

Naming a few, he said he approached Chandra Shekhar, IK Gujral and Manmohan Singh but he was not given any answers.

The demand comes close on the heels of West Bengal government declassifying files on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.


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