Adding confusion to the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the External Affairs ministry has informed the Delhi-based Mission Netaji that the ashes and remains of the fiery leader were still at the Renkoji temple in Tokyo.
The confusion was triggered off by a note (UO No D/S13170 of 2/12/1954) by M O Mathai, secretary to the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, that "a small amount of Rs 200 odd was received by minister of External Affairs from our embassy in Tokyo alongwith the ashes and other remains of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose."
Armed with this note, Mission Netaji's Anuj Dhar and Chandrachur Ghosh approached the MEA and Prime Minister's Office last September and asked them to state the facts vis-a-vis the note under Right to Information Act.
In their application, Dhar and Ghosh wanted to know whether the ashes and other remains of Netaji were ever received in India by Nehru, who was also the then external affairs minister.
They also wanted to know if the ashes were received, how they were dispossed off and why the information was withheld from the people of India. They also querried about the raison d'etre of Mathai's note if Netaji's ashes were allowed to remain in Renkoji temple, Tokyo.
In a letter dated March 2, Additional Secretary in the MEA Ajai Choudhary informed Mission Netaji that, "as per as the ministry was aware, the alleged ashes and remains are still at the Renkoji temple, Tokyo."
In the letter Choudhury informed "that the Indian Liasion mission in Tokyo had conducted some investigation and reported that the ex-president of Indian Independence League, Japan, had confirmed to the former director of the information office of Netaji's independent government that he himself received the ashes of Netaji in September 1945 and entrusted them to the custody of Renkoji temple."
Significantly, Choudhary said in his letter "that the chief priest of Renkoji Temple wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru on November 23, 1953, that he has been keeping the ashes of Netaji since Sepember 18, 1945."
Earlier, the PMO had informed Mission Netaji that it had no record pertaining to the receipt of ashes of Netaji in India by Nehru.
"Such records may be available from Ministry of Home Affairs, which is the nodal ministry in respect of the subject under consideration," it said.
However, Dhar is not convinced. "We can't figure out which version is true because the government response under the RTI has only added confusion surrounding Mathai's note," he said.