New Delhi/Kolkata, Apr 11: Subhas Chandra Bose's grand nephew will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Germany on Monday to demand declassification of all secret files related to him, amid a row over snooping on his close relatives.
"Subhas 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).
"It is the duty of the people of India to raise the issue. 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, grand nephew of Bose said.
Surya Bose, also the president of the Indo-German Association in Hamburg, has been invited by the Indian embassy to attend a reception in Berlin during Modi's visit.
Another grand nephew of the charismatic leader, Chandra Bose said his brother would raise the issue of declassification of files during the meeting. "The time has now come to declassify Netaji files.
Saying it would affect India's relations with other nations is simply a lame excuse. The Modi government has been talking of transparency and now it is the time to provide transparency by releasing those files which will tell us what happened to Netaji during his last years," Bose told PTI.
Bose expressed surprise over the Modi government giving the same excuse as the PMO under Manmohan Singh to block declassification of Netaji files.
"The Prime Minister's office under the Manmohan Singh government made a statement saying if they de-classify these files, they would have problems with friendly neighbours. That's a damaging statement," he said.
In an RTI reply, the Prime Minister's Office has refused to declassify secret files relating to Netaji arguing that the "disclosure would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries."
A political row has broken over the Intelligence Bureau spying on Bose's two nephews, Sisir Kumar Bose and Amiya Nath Bose, sons of his brother Sarat Chandra Bose for 20 years between 1948 and 1968.
Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister for 16 of these 20 years. Chandra Kumar Bose said Jawaharlal Nehru was sure that Netaji had not died in a plane crash.
"Bose would be the natural leader of the country. So he feared that. Therefore he started tracking Amiya nath Bose's movement because he thought Subhas will definitely get in touch with his nephew," he said.
Meanwhile, with Congress being targeted over the snooping row, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh hit out at Modi, saying he had, as Gujarat Chief Minister, turned spying into an "art".
"If one sees the record of Narendra Modi as chief Minister incharge of the Home portfolio and then MoS (now BJP chief Amit Shah) in Gujarat government, snooping was an art which is why the snoopgate incident took place.
"Congress does not believe in it. Off-air interceptors which were bought during General V K Singh's tenure as army chief, the defence ministry doesn't know where they are.
"As a member of the privileges committee, we were discussing the issue of Arun Jaitley's call data records. Therefore, we have to look at the whole issue of snooping in that context. The then army chief is a minister in Narendra Modi government cabinet. Congress party does not believe in snooping or evesdroping," Singh said.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had yesterday said snooping was in the "DNA" of the Congress. Meanwhile, All India Forward Bloc, founded by Bose, has also demanded declassification of all Netaji files.
Party general secretary Debbrata Biswas said in a statement that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government did not make available many documents to the Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry it had formed to go into the mysterious disappearance of Bose.
When under house arrest by the British, Netaji had escaped from India in 1941 to seek international support for the freedom struggle.
After organising the Indian National Army with Japanese help to wage a war against the British, he had gone missing in 1945 and was believed to have died in a plane crash.
The Mukherjee Commission had, however, rejected the theory that Bose was killed in the crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.