A close confidant of the Nehru family, Mohammed Yunus, had told the Khosla Commission of enquiry that several files on Netaji might have been destroyed or gone missing. This explosive revelation comes from the files which were declassified on Saturday.
The declassified Netaji files reveal that after the death of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, these sensitive documents were kept under the custody of the family’s trusted associate Yunus, then a top official in the Ministry of External Affairs. To a query of the Khosla Commission on some files that could not be traced in the early 70s, Yunus replied evasively that “they might be missing or destroyed.”
Discussing the role of Yunus vis-à-vis these missing files, veteran politician Samar Guha wrote several letters to various Prime Ministers and Presidents frowning at the inability of the Khosla Commission to proceed further. Pradip Bose’s book on the mystery of Netaji’s disappearance, also accuses Yunus of “keeping and destroying secret Netaji files.”
Yunus was directly recruited to Indian Foreign Service by Nehru in 1947 and he was a powerful officer. The family’s close friend was either posted as ambassador in strategic countries or given plum posts in the Ministry of External Affairs or enjoyed foreign trade and commerce related postings. In his book, Pradip Bose talks about certain files of 1953 (not yet declassified) bearing file numbers and showing name of Yunus, MEA (SEA Br) to PM’s Secretariat.
“The Nehru Government got in its possession all the secret reports of the Government of Wavell and Mountbatten after the transfer of power. Panditji was also known to maintain a special file about Netaji. But the Nehru Government placed only a few documents before the Shah Nawaz Committee and the Indira Government also supplied almost the same package of files again for the scrutiny of the Khosla Commission.
“These documents included a few pages of Mountbatten’s diary, some parts of the Figgis Report and a small part of the report of CSDIC. Some irrelevant papers were also sent to the commission. However, inside the package of these official documents a very intriguing official note was found enlisting some 40 secret files about Netaji marked as ‘either missing’ or ‘paper destroyed’. Pandit Nehru’s personal and other official files regarding the issue of Netaji were kept by Yunus,” said Samar Guha in his lengthy complaints to late Prime Minister’s PV Narasimha Rao, HD Deve Gowda, Atal Behari Vajpayee leading to the formation of a third commission under Justice Mukherjee in 1999.
In his deposition before the commission, Yunus gave evasive replies about the “missing or destroyed” files. Stating this Guha accused Justice Khosla of not pursing the matter further. “Mr Khosla dared not to ask the Govt. why these valuable secret files were either destroyed or missing and what the contents of these files were,” said the veteran MP from Praja Socialist Party, who fought for more than four decades to unravel the mystery of Netaji’s disappearance.
After retiring as Commerce Secretary in 1974, Yunus was Special Envoy of Indira Gandhi and was Trade Fair Authority of India’s founder chief. He passed away in 2001. His son Adil Shahryar, who was convicted in US for 35 years in a bomb blast case, was released by US President Ronald Regan in 1985 under Presidential Pardon. later, it was revealed that Shahryar was swapped for Union Carbide accused Warren Anderson in a secret Indo-US diplomatic arrangement. The US pardoned and released him few days before Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s arrival in US in 1985. Shahryar was childhood friend of Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi. The marriage reception of Sanjay and Maneka was held at Yunus’s home.