Modi to take up declassification issue with Putin: Netaji family

Kolkata, Dec 21 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take up the issue of declassifying secret Russian files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his upcoming visit to Moscow, a Bose family member said here on Monday.

Modi will leave for Moscow on Wednesday for a two-day visit to the country.

Some members of the Bose family recently held a meeting with Modi, and urged him to raise with Putin the matter of declassifying secret files on Netaji maintained by erstwhile spy agency KGB.

The family members, who have long been campaigning for publication of all classified files on Netaji, claim that the Russian files contain vital information and have a decisive role to play in unravelling Netaji’s whereabouts post August 18, 1945, when he was alleged to have been killed in a plane crash in Taiwan, but the theory has been disputed by many.

“Modi is committed to resolving the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Netaji. During our meeting, Modi said the declassification of the files is a part of the agenda of his meeting with Putin,” Netaji’s grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose said on the sidelines of a book launch here.

“The two governments are already engaged in dialogue over the issue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj seeking her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov’s cooperation.

“But we urged Modi that it needs to be taken up at the level of respective heads of the state, to which he consented,” added Chandra Kumar Bose.

In October, Modi announced that the Centre will begin declassifying secret files on the nationalist leader beginning January 23, his birth anniversary.

The Bose family has also urged the central government to make similar requests to the governments of Japan, Britain and Germany, over claims that they also possess classified files on Netaji.

The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal in September made public 64 secret files which revealed extensive spying on some of Netaji’s close family members after independence.

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