Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mystery of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Missing Treasure


One of India’s Earliest Scandal Revealed

In the vaults of South Block, protected by Official Secrets Act, locked for more than half a century, one of India’s earliest scandals has been revealed. Hundreds of old documents which has created suspicions with regards to cash, gold as well as jewellery which were collected by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to finance his armed struggle for Independence are being drawn away.

One of the 37 secret `Netaji files’ in the Prime Minister’s Office – PMO and Ministry of External Affairs – MEA has dealings with the `INA Treasure’. Put together over the years, it deals with story of suspected rank greed and opportunism which overpowered Indian freedom fighters while they looted the treasury of the malformed Provisional Government of Azad Hind - PGAH.

The suspected loot had taken place immediately after the demise of Bose in a plane crash in 1945. However it is not about the missing Indian National Army – INA treasure worth several hundred crores of rupees but that the government of the day knew about it and had done nothing about it. It was revealed from the classified papers obtained by India Today that the Nehru government had ignored repeated warnings from three mission heads in Tokyo between 1947 and 1953.

Treasure Disposed of By Suspected Accomplices

An undersecretary and later foreign secretary, R.D. Sathe, in the MEA, had written a blunt warning to the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who was also the foreign minister in 1951, that bulk of the treasure, namely gold ornaments as well as precious stones were left behind by Bose in Saigon, presently Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Sathe concluded that this treasure had already been disposed of by the suspected accomplices. All warnings seemed to be ignored and no inquiry was ever made. Moreover, one of the former INA men, whom the diplomats suspected of fraud, was rewarded with a government sinecure.

These explosive revelations are included in 37 odd files that the PMO has refrained from declassifying for over a decade. The government line that no public interest was served by declassification now strains trust. The declassified papers in the National Archives indicate that the Nehru government began snooping on the Bose family which lasted for two decades from 1947 to 1968

April 1945 – Netaji Withdrew to Bangkok with all Treasury

Indian residents of Rangoon, the capital of Japanese, occupied Burma, had held a grand week long ceremony on January 29, 1945. It was the 48th birthday of Netaji, the head of the provisional government of the Azad Hind.

It was said that Netaji was weighted against gold, something which was disliked by him. Hugh Toye notes in his biography -The Springing Tiger, The Indian National Army and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The same week, donations worth over Rs 2 crore was collected which included over 80 kg of gold and Netaji had raised the biggest war chest by any Indian leader during the 20th century.

However by 1945, this was to no avail since the Japanese army together with the INA had crumpled due to increasing Allied thrust in Burma. On April 24, 1945, Netaji withdrew to Bangkok carrying all the treasury of the provisional government with him.

There have been conflicting accounts on how much gold had been taken by him. Chairman of the Azad Hind Bank, Dinanath when interrogated by British intelligence immediately after the war, had stated that Netaji had left with 63.5 kg of gold.

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