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CHENNAI: A request made by
Paris-based historian JBP More
for access to a secret file of the French military authorities, which may unravel the mystery behind the death of Subhas Chandra Bose, was refused by the French national archival authorities recently. They said the file was closed for 100 years.
“After years of research, I can confirm that Bose’s life ended in Saigon, most probably at Vietnam’s Bot Catinat prison, on the basis of the French secret service records,” he said. “The letter of the French authorities not to allow me to consult a lone file pertaining to the INA and Bose in Saigon has come as a great surprise to me. This goes to affirm my conviction that Bose’s life ended in Saigon sometime in September 1945. That is why this file has been classified as out of reach for consultation for 100 years,” said More, who teaches at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Commerciales, Paris.
More said it is now up to the concerned people or the Indian authorities to demand the French to open up this lone file that is withheld from the public for 100 years. “This file must contain information about the last days of Bose,” said More.
In July, based on a French secret service report dated December 11, 1947 at the National Archives of France, More had come up with a finding
that Bose didn’t die in an air crash+
“It seems quite certain that Bose did not die in the air crash off Taipei as popularly believed. If he had died there, then Bose’s ashes kept in Tokyo needs to undergo DNA test to confirm that it was really Bose who had died in the air crash. Since this test was never done, one could reasonably hold that the ashes did not belong to Bose,” he said.
Besides, other stories had been planted on and off that Bose escaped to Russia or China. According to More, these stories have been floated by vested interests to cover up the fact that Bose was arrested in Saigon after 17th August 1945.
“This has been attested by the French secret service records. So at this juncture, one can assert without hesitation that Bose’s life journey had ended sometime in September 1945 in Saigon/HO Chi Minh city, most probably at Bot Catinat prison or somewhere else in the most tragic way,” he said.
A report filed by French captain Pauwels, who was chief of police in Saigon after August 1945, is crucial in this case. “The arrest of Bose and some of his Saigon associates was made under the orders and supervision of Captain Pauwels and they were incarcerated at Bot Catinat prison, which was the dreaded principal colonial prison,” said More, quoting Note Verbale of Capitaine Pauwels, chief of police services, Saigon dated 26 January 1946.