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Some Netaji files may be declassified
November 13, 2006 10:33 IST
The Prime Minister's Office is considering declassification of some files on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in a move expected to bring to light fresh information about his mysterious disappearance.
"As regards classified files held by the PMO (on Netaji), an excercise is being undertaken to review them for declassification," Central Public Information Officer Kamal Dayani, said in a letter to Mission Netaji, a Delhi-based organisation.
Files declassified after the review would be sent to the National Archives of India, Dayani wrote to the organisation which runs the Web site www.missionnetaji.org.
Mission Netaji had written to the PMO under the RTI Act to confirm whether they, or the Reseach and Analysis Wing, which reports to the PMO, were holding any classified records or material on Bose.
"As regards records kept by RAW, your application is transferred to them for appropriate action. You may contact them for appropriate action," Dayani said in his letter.
The PMO, however, has offered to provide a list of 11 unclassified files.
According to Mission Netaji official Anuj Dhar, the Ministry of External Affairs, however, has rejected its request seeking reconsideration of their refusal to furnish the complete correspondence the MEA had with the USSR or the Russian governments over the fate of Bose.
In reply, Secretary (ER and Coordination) in the MEA Ringzing Wangdi pointed out that the copies of correspondence could not be disclosed as it involved relations with a foreign state and was exempted as per the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, Dhar said.
Clause 8 (I)(a) of the RTI Act exempts provision of such information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India.
Wangdi also sought exemption under Clause 8 (1)(i) which relates to decision of council of ministers or the cabinet, Dhar said.
"We do not understand how disclosure of correspondence dealing with the disappearance of a national hero can be a threat in 2006 when the government holds he had died in 1945," he said.
According to Dhar, the MEA also brushed aside a query by Mission Netaji on whether the matter was pursued at an higher level by 'note verbale' to the Russian government.
"The information sought does not constitute an 'information' as defined by the RTI Act, 2005, as it seeks anecdotal reply," Dhar said, quoting an MEA letter dated November 6.
Pointing out that the Justice Manoj Mukherjee Commission, which probed the mysterious disapperance of Bose, had said in its report that certain actions of the Union government amounted to putting "a spoke in the wheel of this inquiry", Dhar demanded that the Centre take up the issue with the Russian government immediately.