And there is yet another "official" version tucked away in a classified Prime Minister's Office (PMO) file: They were secretly received in India by Prime Minister/External Affairs Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Going by the tone of this 1954 note, those "ashes and other remains" might have ended up either in South Block or the office of All India Congress Committee (AICC).
Now it seems that we will never know how true or false the PMO version is. After a year-long RTI attempt, Mission Netaji has failed to resolve the riddle of "Netaji's remains" the PMO record says were received by Pandit Nehru. The Central Information Commission (CIC), after hearing the views of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Mission Netaji's Anuj Dhar, has stated that it "can only hope that some serious researcher will look into one of the greatest mysteries of modern India and arrive at a definite conclusion".
Click for the CIC decision
What drove Information Commission Dr OP Kejariwal to make this gloomy observation was the MEA's insistence that "they had no records with them on the matter and hence could not proceed any further with the RTI-application."
Dr Kejariwal, however, underlined in his decision dated 26 July 2007 that "one look at the note emanating from the Prime Minister's Secretariat ... would seem to open up an altogether new line of inquiry with the implication that Netaji's ashes and other remains were brought back to the country by the late Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru."
A top notch historian that he is, Dr Kejariwal was compelled to concede in his order that "this is one of the most interesting cases which has come before the Commission" and that "the mystery deepens".
In September last year Mission Netaji's Anuj Dhar and Chandrachur Ghose approached the MEA and the PMO with the PMO note signed by MO Mathai, Private Secretary of the late Prime Minister. The ministries were asked to state facts vis-à-vis this note, which was attached for their ready reference.
Thereafter, the PMO told Chandrachur that "this Office has no records pertaining to the receipt of ashes of Netaji in India by the then Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs. Such records may be available with Ministry of Home Affairs, which is the nodal Ministry in respect of the subject under consideration".
The MHA responded that "as the entire incident took place in the Ministry of External Affairs, you may take up the matter with that Ministry". The MEA informed Chandrachur and Anuj that "the Indian Mission in Tokyo under instruction of New Delhi took over the possession of the alleged ashes of Netaji at the Renkoji temple" and that they "were not disturbed". That is, they were not brought to India.
Dhar took up the matter further with the Ministry and was informed by Ajai Choudhry, Additional Secretary & Apellate Authority MEA, that "as far as this Ministry is aware, the alleged ashes and remains are still at the Renkoji Temple in Tokyo". There was no explanation what the 1954 note stood for. The subsequent hearing at the CIC earlier this month failed to resolve the case.