THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 17 JANUARY, 2018
Second Assassin 4rth Bullet Petition on Gandhi Murder Still Live in Supreme Court Next Hearing Feb19
Editors Note: As the Supreme Court Justices meet to hopefully make the processes less arbitrary and more transparent the importance of this is reflected in major cases under apex court scrutiny. The Citizen in a three part series is highlighting game changer cases, two up for hearing and the other yet to be admitted but under consideration of the apex court. The first in the series was on the Babri Masjid (Babri-Masjid-Ram-Temple-Judges-Concerns-Come-on-Eve-of-Game-Changer-Case--in-SC-on-February-8) . The second is on a petition that the Supreme Court could have been expected to reject outright---as was done by the Bombay High Court---but is still under consideration of the court: on the murder of Gandhi. The Citizen reports this strange case and interviews the great grandson of Gandhi, Tushar Gandhi.
NEW DELHI: Was Gandhi killed by Godse alone? This is the petition filed before the Supreme Court by one Dr Pankaj Kumudchandra Phadnis of a radical Hindu organisation Abhinav Bharat which is still considering it and has fixed the next hearing for February 19.
Significantly, the Bombay High court had refused to entertain the petition earlier. Summarily rejecting the petition in June last year the bench headed by Justice V.M. Kanade stated that the matter couldn’t be heard as the said matter had concluded long ago.
The Supreme Court bench of Justice S.A.Bobde and Justice L.Nageswara Rao gave the petitioner requested time maintaining however, that it will act according to the law, irrespective of the person (in this case Gandhi) involved. “Don’t get carried away with the greatness of the person involved. The court will act according to law,” the Bench declared. This, though the amicus curae
Phadnis is a Mumbai based researcher and trustee of Abhinav Bharat that was founded in its present form by Retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay and Lt.Col.Prasad Shrikant Purohit who was arrested for the Malegaon bombings. Himani Savarkar, the niece of Nathuram Godse and the wife of Vinayak Savarkar's nephew, was elected president of the group in 2008 after the first few meetings of the group in 2007.
The Supreme Court is considering the petition suggesting a foreign conspiracy involve ‘Force 136’, the presence of a second assassin, and a ‘fourth bullet’ fired at Gandhi on January 30,1 1948. The case listed as Dr. Pankaj Kumudchandra Phadnis v. Union of India will now be heard next month. This despite the amicus curiae report to the court that there was no evidence to support the petition, and hence no need for a fresh probe.
The petition points at a foreign conspiracy involving ‘Force 136’, the presence of a second assassin and a ‘fourth bullet’ fired at the Mahatma on January 30, 1948. Senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, appointed amicus curiae last October to assist the Supreme Court in this case told the court earlier this month that there was no need for a fresh probe or a fact finding commission. He said that no substantive material has come to light to cast doubts on the investigation into Gandhi’s murder. In his report Sharan stated that the “bullets which pierced Mahatma Gandhi’s body, the pistol from which it was fired, the assailant who fired the said bullets, the conspiracy which led to the assassination, and the ideology which led to the said assassination, have all been duly identified”.
Great grandson of Gandhi, Tushar Gandhi said he was perplexed that the petition had been considered at all, more so as the Bombay High Court had rejected it outright. He told The Citizen that this was part of the false propaganda being launched to basically justify Babu’s murder, as the next step will be to question the murder itself and paint a new history around it.
Tushar Gandhi said the effort was to characteristically raise confusion, and in the process negate the findings of the Kapur Commission. Justice Jivanlal Kapur had been appointed as a one man Commission in 1964 carry out a probe into the conspiracy to kill Gandhi. In an elaborate, comprehensive, detailed enquiry where he had examined the testimony of two of Savarkar’s close aides--Appa Ramachandra Kasar (bodyguard) and Gajanan Vishnu Damle (secretary)-- Justice Kapur concluded, “"All these facts taken together were destructive of any theory other than the conspiracy to murder by Savarkar and his group."
“I was sure that the Supreme Court would throw out the petition” Tushar Gandhi said maintaining that he was considering becoming a party to it if the apex court decided to take up the case. He said that the case was intended to create new confusions over a fact of history---that Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse---and thereby change what is crystal truth.
About the silence of the Congress on this, Tushar Gandhi said they were too busy wooing VHP leader Pra
veen Togadia. He said there was not a word from the party on the defence of Gandhi, and this despte an inference suggesting that Jawaharlal Nehru could be somehow involved in the alleged ‘foreign conspiracy’.