Files on Netaji's Disappearance Destroyed?

2 August 2006: Anuj Dhar of MN requests the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Cabinet Secretariat to provide certified copies of all papers concerning the destruction of file No 12(226)/56-PM titled "Investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Shri Subhas Chandra Bose". This file was destroyed in 1972, when a judicial inquiry into Netaji's fate was on.

17th August, 2006: The request is forwarded by the Cabinet Secretariat to the PMO

4 September 2006: Kamal Dayani, Director & CPIO, PMO, responds that the file in question "was destroyed in 1972, during routine process of review/weeding of old records"

28 September 2006: Dhar files complaint with CIC. In his complaint, Dhar raises the following points:

  • The application seeking certified copies of all papers concerning the destruction of file has not been answered. Rather than giving details/copies of such papers, Shri Dayani's letter merely reiterates what was stated in the application itself.
  • Commonsense dictates that such a historically important record should have been preserved for posterity and transferred to National Archives in due course. Therefore, the relevant departments, that is, Cabinet Secretariat and PMO should release detailed information and papers on the process of the destruction of the file.
  • According to a letter dated July 4, 2000 written to the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (1999-2005), by Director, PMO, "file No 12(226)/56-PM which contained agenda paper/cabinet decision regarding 'Investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Shri Subhas Chandra Bose' was destroyed in 1972 in the course of routine review/weeding of old records since records of Cabinet proceedings are kept permanently in Cabinet Secretariat, from where they may be procured". Thus, the Cabinet Secretariat should be in a position to provide relevant details


23 May 2007: Dhar sends email to CIC stating, among others, "I'd also request that honourable Commission to direct the PMO to ascertain facts about the above stated "agenda paper /cabinet decision" from the Cabinet Sectt. before their representative appears at the hearing scheduled on 10th August."

10 August 2007: CIC holds hearing. In its order, the Chief Information Commissioner notes, "Shri Amit Aggarwal, Director PMO submitted the following files for our perusal which he confirmed are the only documents which contain references to the destruction of file No. 12/226/56-PM on the subject "Investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Netaji". File no RTI/219/2006/PMO & File No 2(64)56-70 PM Vol V (closed). These include a note at page 68 on file No. RTI/219/2006/PMO and a copy of list of destroyed files on page 151 of file No. No 2(64)56-70 PM Vol V, which clearly indicates the destruction of file no. 12/226/56-PM." He directs the PMO to provide a copy of each page of the file to Dhar.

During the hearing, Dhar submits a letter in which he cites various letters made available by PMO to the JMCI and states that there are clearly copies of documents in the PMO on the subject. CIC asks PMO to treat this letter as a fresh application and to provide information to Dhar on the basis of this letter.