Belying hopes of a breakthrough into the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose after the August 1945 air crash in Taiwan, the justice Mukherjee inquiry commission has said it had not found any relevant material in Russia, including the KGB archives.
"We have not come across any material in Russia that is relevant to our terms of enquiry," Justice Manoj Mukherjee, heading the Commission told newsmen after concluding the last hearing on Thursday.
He said the Commission, which toured Russia from September 20 to 30, visited archives in Moscow, Omsk, Irkhutsk and St Petersburg.
Asked whether the Commission had also visited the KGB archives as scheduled, Justice Mukherjee said "the KGB informed us that there was no relevant document in its archives. Therefore, there was no reason to visit it."
The Commission's visit to Russia had set off speculation of a possible breakthrough into the whereabouts of Netaji after the Taihoku air crash.
According to Mukherjee, a file on Netaji and another relating to his brother Rashbihari Bose were found at the Russian State Archive of Secret Politics but they contained only newspaper clippings that were irrelevant.
In reply to a request by the Commission, authorities of the State Archive of Modern History, the Archive of the Russia
Federation's External Intelligence Services and the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation sent English translations of the documents available with them.
None of these documents was, however, found relevant to the Commission's terms of inquiry, Mukherjee said.
Authorities of the Central Archive of the KGB, Central State Archive of Russian Federation Defence, Russian State Library, State Archive of Russian Federation, Russian State Military Archive and the Russian State Historical Archives for the Far East have informed the Commission that they had no documents relevant to its terms of enquiry, Mukherjee said.
Maintaining that the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow had also informed that it did not have any document relevant to the Commission, Mukherjee said the Commission had also checked with the Russian State Archive of Audio Documents.
"Although it has tapes of speeches of Dr Radhakrishnan, Krishna Menon and Nehru, there is nothing on Netaji."
During its visit to Omsk, the Commission was informed by the director of its State Archive that since all visiting foreigners were required to register themselves with the authorities, documents relating to Netaji could have been found if he had used his real name during his visit to Omsk.
"She also told us that if Netaji had used a pseudonym, any document relating to him at Omsk will never be traced. If he was arrested, such documents would be available with the KGB, but the KGB says it does not possess any such material," Mukherjee said, adding that directors of archives at Irkhutsk and St Petersburg also gave similar replies.
The Mukherjee Commission, which was set up in 1999 and began its hearings later that year, has already had three extensions. It is scheduled to submit its report on November 14.