Shastri’s demise linked to Netaji?
Kolkata: Former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden demise in Tashkent may have been linked to his views on Netaji’s disappearance and his efforts to form a second probe panel to solve the mystery, claim one of Shastri’s kin and an activist who is demanding declassification of the Netaji files.
Minutes before his death in Tashkent in 1966, Shastri had reportedly informed his family over phone that he would divulge something that would shift the country’s attention from the contentious Tashkent declaration that had just been signed. Shastri was also keen on setting up a second inquiry commission to probe the mysterious disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose.
Activist and author Anuj Dhar says “Shastri was in favour of an unbiased inquiry. It might have revealed the truth, which would have been unacceptable to many. It is suspicious that he died soon after, without any illness and before he could reveal what he wanted to.”
In response to an RTI filed by Dhar, the PMO had admitted in 2009 that it had one document relating to Shastri’s death which could not be disclosed as it could harm foreign relations.
Shastri’s grandson San- jay Nath Singh says the PM had spoken to his family over phone less than an hour before he was declared dead in Tashkent. Singh, who was nine then, was present in the room when he had called. “He wanted to know the reaction to the Tashkent agreement. When he was told that the opposition had made a ruckus over it, he said that he would soon disclose something that will make the country forget the controversy. About 45 minutes later, we got a call saying he was very ill. It was followed by another call in 10 minutes which said he was dead ” says Singh.