Kolkata, Feb 17: The Prime Minister has no power to declassify secret files relating to the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the Prime Minister's Office has clarified in an RTI reply.
"There are no mentions in Manual of Office Procedure or Public Records Rules, 1997, regarding any discretionary power vested in PM to de-classify records," the PMO said.
Sreejith Panickar, an IT professional based in Thiruvananthapuram, had sent an RTI application to the PMO asking, "Does the Prime Minister have any prerogative to issue an order to declassify the files and send them to the National Archives?".
Last year, when Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Agarwal appealed to the PMO to disclose records relating to Netaji it had had refused arguing that the "disclosure would prejudicially affect relation with foreign countries". When under house arrest by the British in then Calcutta, Netaji had escaped in 1941 to seek international support for his efforts to free his country and formed the Indian National Army with Japanese help.
He went missing in 1945 and since then little has been known about his whereabouts. The Mukherjee Commission had rejected reports that he had died in a plane crash in Taihoku airport in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.