INDIA JUDGMENTS.COM

MAHATMA GANDHI MURDER TRIAL


English translation of original F.I.R. of Mahatma Gandhi Assassination case – 1948

First Information of a Cognizable Crime Reported under Section 154, C.P.C.

Police Station : Tughlak Road               District : Central

No. : 68                                                Date and hour of occurence : 30.1.1948 / 5:45 P.M.

1. Date and hour when reported

2. Name and residence of informant /complainant: Shri Nand Lal Mehta, son of Shri Natha Lal Mehta, Indian, Building Lala Suraj Prasad M Block, Connaught Circus

3. Brief description of offence (with section) and of property carried off, if any: 302 I.P.C.

4. Place of occurence and distance/ direction from Police Station: Birla House, distance 2 furlongs

5. Name and address of the criminal

6. Steps taken regarding investigation/ explanation of delay in recording information

Statement of Shri Nand Lal Mehta, son of Shri Natha Lal Mehta, Indian, resident of Connaught Circus Building Lala Sarju Prasad

Today I was present at Birla House.  Around ten minutes past five in the evening, Mahatma Gandhi left his room in Birla House for the Prayer Ground. Sister Abha Gandhi and sister Sanno Gandhi were accompanying him.  Mahatma was walking with his hands on the shoulders of the two sisters. Two more girls were there in the group. I alongwith  Lala Brij Kishan, a silver merchant, resident of No. 1, Narendra Place, Parliament Street and Sardar Gurbachan Singh, resident of Timar Pur, Delhi were also there.  Apart from us, women from the Birla household and two-three members of the staff were also present. Having crossed the garden, Mahatma climbed the concrete steps towards the prayer place.  People were standing on both the sides and approximately three feet of vacant space was left for the Mahatma to pass through.  As per the custom the Mahatma greeted the people with folded hands.  He had barely covered six or seven steps when a person whose name I learnt later as Narayan Vinayak Godse, resident of Poona, stepped closer and fired three shots from a pistol at the Mahatma from barely 2 / 3 feet distance which hit the Mahatma in his stomach and chest and blood started flowing.  Mahatma ji fell backwards, uttering "Raam - Raam".   The assailant was apprehended on the spot with the weapon.  The Mahatma was carried away in an unconscious state towards the residential unit of the Birla House where he passed away instantly and the police took away the assailant.

 Sd/-
N.L. Mehta/30.1.1948.

Having received the information I rushed to the Birla House to find the dead body of the Mahatma at room No. 3.  Met Shri Nand Lal Mehta, his statement recorded and got confirmed after reading it out to him.   Copy of the statement handed over to him.  Came to know that the assailant was whisked away by the Assistant Sub-Inspector.  It was a case of Section 302 Indian Penal Code.  All the case papers were sent to the Police Station Tughlak Road and I got engaged in conducting  investigations.  A special report may be forwarded through the police station.

Sd. in English/30 January

___________________________________________________________________________


1. Charges Framed against Savarkar and other accused

Background (extracted verbatim from Printed Record of Mahatma Gandhi Murder case Volume III; Judgement of the Special Judge, Red Fort, Delhi): 

On 30 January 1948, at around 5.00 p.m., Mahatma Gandhi, as usual,  was proceeding to the prayer-platform behind Birla House, New Delhi when he was assassinated.  The following were accused in what is known as the Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case:

1. Nathuram V. Godse

2. Narayan D. Apte

3Vishnu R. Karkare

4.  Madanlal K. Pahwa

5. Shankar Kistayya

6. Gopal V. Godse

7. Vinayak D. Savarkar

8. Dattatraya S. Parchure

9. Gangadhar S. Dandawate

10. Gangadhar Jadhav

11. Suryadeo Sharma

Digambar R. Badge turned approver

A Special Court was constituted under notification No. 54/1/48-Political, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 4-5-48, u/ss 10 and 11 of the Bombay Public Security Measures Act, 1947, as extended to the Province of Delhi, and the case was made over to the Court for trial, under notification No. 54/1/48-Political, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 13-5-48.  Mr. Atma Charan, Esq., I.C.S. was appointed Special judge.  The Court held its sittings in a hall on the upper storey of a building in the Red Fort. Nathuram V. Godse, Narayan D. Apte, Vishnu R. Karkare, Digambar R. Badge, Madanlal K. Pahwa, Shankar Kistayya, Gopal V. Godse and Vinayak D. Savarkar, who were present at Bombay , and Dattatraya S. Parchure, who was then at Gwalior, were all brought to Delhi before the commencement of the trial, and were lodged in the Red Fort in a specially selected area, which was declared to be a ‘prison’ under notification No. 54/6/48-Political, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 15-5-48.

The charge-sheet against the accused was submitted to the Court on 27-5-1948.  A summary of the main prosecution evidence was furnished to the defence by the prosecution before the commencement of the trial before the Court.  Digambar R. Badge was tendered a pardon on 21-6-1948.  The prosecution filed the sanction of the District Magistrate, dated 18-5-1948, u/s 29 of the Indian Arms Act, the sanction of the Central Government, dated 26-5-1948, u/s 7 of the Explosive Substances Act and the sanction of the Central Government, dated 18-6-1948, u/s 188 of the Cr.P.C., on 22-6-1948.  The charges were then read out and explained to the accused.  The accused pleaded ‘not guilty’ and pleaded to be tried.

Mr. C.K.Daphtary, Advocate-General of Bombay, appeared as Chief Public Prosecutor, and was assisted by Messers. N.K. Petigara, M.G. Vyavaharkar, J.C. Shah and Jwala Prasad.  Savarkar was represented by Messers. L.B. Bhopatkar, Jumnadas Mehta, Ganpat Rai, K.L. Bhopatkar, B. Banerji, J.P. Mitter and N.P. Aiyer.

Although u/s 13(2) of the Bombay Public Security Measures Act extended to the Province of Delhi only a memorandum of the substance of the evidence was required to be recorded by the court, but at the request of all the accused and their counsel and with the approval of the counsel for the prosecution, a complete record of the evidence was maintained in English for the convenience of all concerned.

The recording of the prosecution evidence began on 24-6-1948 and continued till 6-11-1948.  The prosecution produced in all 149 witnesses, and their evidence consists of 720 pages.  The prosecution brought on the record of the case 404 documentary exhibits and 80 material exhibits.

The recording of the statements of the accused began on 8-11-1948, and continued till 22-11-1948, and their statements consist of 106 pages.  All the accused except Shankar Kistayya filed written statements and their written statements consists of 297 pages.  The defence through the prosecution witnesses brought on the record of the case 119 documentary exhibits.  The accused were asked whether they meant to adduce evidence in defence.  All of them declined to adduce any evidence either in rebuttal of the prosecution evidence or in support of the allegations made by them.

The hearing of the arguments began on 1-12-48 and continued till 30-12-48.  Nathuram V. Godse argued his own case.  Mr. P.R. Das of Patna argued the case on behalf of Vinayak D. Savarkar.

Charges framed against Savarkar (extracted verbatim from Printed Record of Mahatma Gandhi Murder case Volume III; Judgement of the Special Judge, Red Fort, Delhi): 

On the prosecution version of the story, the following charges were framed against the accused:-

I.- FIRSTLY

That you-

NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE, VINAYAK D. SAVARKAR AND DATTATRAYA S. PARCHURE between December 1, 1947 and January 30, 1948, at Poona, Bombay, Delhi and other places agreed and conspired among and between yourselves and Digambar R. Badge who has been tendered a pardon, Gangadhar S. Dandavate, Gangadhar Jadhav and Suryadeo Sharma, who along with others not known are absconding, to do or cause to be done an illegal act viz., to commit the murder of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi more popularly known as ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ and the same act viz., the murder of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ was done in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy at Delhi on January 30, 1948, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12-0 B of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

II- SECONDLY

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 10, 1948, and January 20, 1948, you,

NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE along with Digambar R. Badge -

A (1) transported without a licence to Delhi arms and ammunition viz., 2 revolvers with cartridges, in contravention of the provisions of Section 10 of the Indian Arms act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(d) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2) abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(d) of the Indian Arms Act read with Sections 109 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, and within the cognizance of the Court.

B (1) at Delhi, had without a licence in your possession and under your control arms and ammunition, viz., 2 revolvers with cartridges, in contravention of the provisions of Section 14 and 15 of the Indian Arms Act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2) at Delhi, abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act read with Sections 109 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, and within the cognizance of the Court;

III-THIRDLY

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 10, 1948, and January 20, 1948, at Delhi you

NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE along with Digambar R. Badge -

A (1) had in your possession and under your control explosive substances, viz., 2 gun-cotton-slabs and 5 hand-grenades with detonators and wicks, with intent to endanger life by means thereof or to enable any other person to endanger life by means thereof and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 4(b) of the Explosive Substances Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2)    abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed    an offence punishable under section 4(b) of the Explosive Substances Act read with Section 6 of the Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

B (1) had in your possession and under your control explosive substances, viz., 2 gun-cotton-slabs and 5 hand-grenades with detonators and wicks, under such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that you did not have them in your possession or under your control for a lawful object and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2) abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act read with Section 6 of the Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

IV-FOURTHLY

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 10, 1948, and January 20, 1948, at Delhi you

A (1) MADAN LAL K. PAHWA - Unlawfully and maliciously caused an explosive substance viz., a gun cotton-slab, to explode, which explosion was of a nature likely to endanger life and to cause serious injury to property and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2) NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE -along with Digambar R. Badge

abetted Madanlal K. Pahwa in the commission of the above offence  and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act read with Section 6 of the Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

V - FIFTHLY

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy on January 20, 1948, at the Birla House, Delhi, you  NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE, VINAYAK D. SAVARKAR -along with Digambar R. Badge

abetted each other in the commission of an offence viz., to commit the murder of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ which offence is punishable with death or transportation for life and which offence was not committed in consequence of the abetment and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 115 of the Indian Penal Code read with section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

 VI- SIXTHLY

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 28, 1948, and January 30, 1948, you

A (1) NATHURAM V. GODSE  AND  NARAYAN D. APTE  - brought without a licence from Gwalior to Delhi arms and ammunition, viz., Automatic Pistol No. 606824 with cartridges, in contravention of Section 6 of the Indian Arms Act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(c) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2)    NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE  AND  DATTATRAYA S. PARCHURE -abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(c) of the Indian Arms Act read with Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

B (1) NATHURAM V. GODSE - at Delhi, had in your possession and under your control arms and ammunition, viz., Automatic Pistol No. 606824 with cartridges, in contravention of Sections 14 and 15 of the Indian Arms Act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2)  NARAYAN D. APTE  AND  VISHNU  R.  KARKARE  at Delhi, abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act read with Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

VII.- SEVENTHLY

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy on January 30, 1948, at the Birla House, Delhi you 

A (1) NATHURAM V. GODSE did commit murder by intentionally and knowingly causing the death of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

(2) NARAYAN D. APTE  AND  VISHNU  R.  KARKARE abetted Nathuram V. Godse in the commission of the above offence, which offence was committed in your presence, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court; (3) MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE, VINAYAK D. SAVARKAR AND DATTATRAYA S. PARCHURE along with Digambar R. Badge abetted Nathuram V. Godse in the commission of the above offence, which offence was committed in your presence, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court.  The accused pleaded ‘not guilty’ and ‘claimed to be tried’.  Dattatraya S. Parchure further pleaded that he was a subject of the Gwalior State and that, as such, he was not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Court.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 2. AFFIDAVIT MADE BY VIR SAVARKAR

The following is the affidavit made by Savarkar on 18 May 1948 in the Court of the Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay.  The affidavit formed defence exhibit D/18 in the Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case (Complainant versus Vinayak Damodar Savarkar-Accused) in the High Court of the Judicature for the province of the East Punjab at Simla. Sections 302, 34, 109, 120-B & 307 I.P.C. read with Ss. 4 & 5 of the Explosive Substances Act and Sec. 19 (f) Arms Act had been slapped on Savarkar.  It has been reproduced from the ‘Printed Record of Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case Volume V’.

I, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, do hereby swear and state on solemn affirmation as under:

1. That on 5th February, 1948, I was arrested, in my house “Savarkar Sadan” at Dadar, Bombay by the Bombay Police.  I am, since then, under detention in the Arthur Road Prison, Bombay.

2. That on the 18th of February, 1948, I was served with an order being Detention Order No. 1202 of 1948 and a notice under the same number under section 3 of the Bombay Public Security Measures Act, VI of 1947, by the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay.

3. As directed in the said notice I made my representation to the Commissioner of Police, Bombay on 22nd February, 1948.

4. That on 11th March, 1948, for the first time, I was placed before the Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, and in the remand application filed before the said Learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, the Bombay Police alleged that I was arrested on that day in connection with C.R. Nos. 40 and 68 of 1948 of Tughlak Road Police Station, New Delhi, and prayed the said Learned Chief Presidency Magistrate to remand me to Police custody for 14 days.  The said application was granted by the said Learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay and I was remanded to Police custody.  I was then taken to the Arthur Road Prison.  The Bombay Police repeated the remand application from time to time and they were granted.  The present remand expires on the 18th of May, 1948.

5. That on the 11th of May, 1948, I was taken from the Arthur Road Prison, Bombay, to the C.I.D. Office by the Bombay Police Officers.  I was then made to sit in a chair and Godse and others who are suspected to be concerned in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi were placed by my sides.  We were then all photographed in a group.  I disclaim any association with them of any of them at any time whatsoever.

6. That I apprehend that the same photograph may possibly be used to concoct evidence against me.

7. That after I was photographed, as stated above, I got an opportunity, for the first time to see my advocate Mr. S.V. Deodhar on 14th May, 1948.  At the interview I got with him on 14th May, 1948, I instructed him to file an application before the Learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, placing the above facts before him and further praying the Learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, to issue an order to the Police to produce the said photograph and its negatives and positives in the court of the Learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, for being deposited in the Court pending the trial I am to face in Delhi as the said photograph may prejudice my defence and the same ought not to have been taken during the pendency of the trial.  I have also instructed Mr. S.V. Deodhar, my Advocate, to send in a notice to the Commissioner of Police, Bombay, to refrain himself from making any use of the said photograph during the pendency of the trial, as it tends to a contempt of the court.

(Sd.) V.D. SAVARKAR

Dated this 18th May, 1948.

Solemnly affirmed before me.

(Sd.) OSCAR H. BROWN

Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay

18-5-48 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. STATEMENT  OF  VINAYAK  D. SAVARKAR, U/S  364  OF THE   Cr.  P.C.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Hindu, aged 66, Savarkar Sadan, Dadar, Bombay.  (English)  :

Q. – You have heard the entire evidence produced on behalf of the prosecution as against you what have you to say ?           

A. – I file my written statement.  Note :- Vinayak D. Sarvarkar reads out his written statement the written statement is signed and dated by me. 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :–

About 2-3 days after the end of the first week of January 1948 Madanlal told Dr. J.C. Jain that when you heard of his (Madanlal’s) exploits at Ahmednagar you sent for him, had a long talk with him for about two hours, patted him on his back and said ‘carry on’.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – This is all false.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 14th January at about 7-30 p.m. Miss Shanta B. Modak dropped Nathuram Godse and             Apte opposite your house.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – I know nothing about it.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 14th January 1948 at about 9-00 p.m. Nathuram Godse and Apte went to your house   with a bag said to be containing explosives.  They then left your house shortly thereafter with the bag.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A. – This is all false.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 15th January 1948 in the compound of the house of Dixitji Maharaj Apte in the presence of  Nathuram Godse told Badge that you had decided that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Suhawardy should be ‘finished’ and had entrusted that work to them.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – This is all false.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 17th January 1948 Nathuram Godse, Apte and Badge went to your house.  Nathuram Godse and Apte went upstairs, and Badge waited in the room on the ground floor.  Nathuram Godse and Apte then came down after 5-10 minutes.  They were followed immediately by you.  You said ‘yashasvi houn ya’.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – This is altogether false.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

Apte on return from your house told those in the taxi that you had predicted that   Gandhiji’s hundred years were over. Apte than said that there was no doubt that their work would be successfully finished.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.- I did not say any such thing to anyone at any time.  I cannot say what Apte said on his own behalf to anyone.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 19th January 1948 at about 9-20 a.m. a telephonic call was booked for Damle or Kasar from Delhi 8024 to Bombay 60201.  Damle is your Secretary and Kasar your Body-Guard.  Bombay 60201 is your telephone number at Savarkar-Sadan.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – I know nothing about the booking of the telephonic call.  Damle is my Secretary and Kasar my Body-Guard.  The call, if so booked, was booked not in their official capacity but in their personal capacity.  Bombay 60201 is the telephone number of my residence.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 31st January 1948 a search was made of your house and a large volume of correspondence was taken possession of by the Police.  Exhibits P.87, P.88 and P. 277, P. 302 are said to be part of the correspondence so seized from your possession.  Exibits P.87 and P.88 bear the signatures of Badge. Exibits P. 277 and P. 302 bear the signatures of Nathuram Godse and/or Apte or your signature or signatures on your behalf.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – Yes, it is so.

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

You are said to have been well acquainted with Nathuram Godse, Apte.  Karkare, Madanlal, Parchure and Badge prior to 17th January 1948. 

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – I was well acquainted with Nathuram Godse and Apte in their capacity as workers of the Hindu Mahasabha.  I had heard of the names of Karkare, Parchure and Badge, but did not know them personally,  I did not at all know Madanlal and had not even heard of his name.

Q. – You have heard the entire evidence produced on behalf of the prosecution as against you would you like to say or suggest anything more before the Court ?

A. – No.  I have already filed my written statement.

Q. – Do you want to adduce evidence in defence ?

A. – No.  I  do not  want to adduce evidence in defence.

 (Sd.)     

V.D. SAVARKAR.

                                                                                                                            ATMA CHARAN, I.C.S.,

                                                                                                                               Judge, Special Court.

20-11-1948.

 Read over, and verified as correct.

                                                                                                                             ATMA CHARAN, I.C.S.,

                                                                                                                                     Judge, Special Court.

Certified that the examination of the accused was done in my presence and hearing and that the record contains a full and true account of the statement made by the accused.

 

                                                                                                                             ATMA CHARAN, I.C.S.,

                                                                                                                                Judge, Special Court.

20-11-1948.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kapur Commission

The release of the conspirators in the Gandhi murder case in 1964 and the resultant celebrations in Pune and Ketkar's remarks that he was aware of Nathuram Godse's desire to kill Gandhi, led to a public outrage and resulted in the forming of the Pathak commission, when Pathak became central minister and then governor of Mysore state, the Kapur commission was set up in 1966 as the commission of inquiry into the conspiracy to murder Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. It was a one man commission formed of Justice Jivanlal Kapur of the Supreme Court. It took three years to complete its work. It strongly indicted those responsible for Gandhi's security with negligence. It was provided with evidence not produced in the court; especially the testimony of two of Savarkar's close aides - Appa Ramachandra Kasar, his bodyguard, and Gajanan Vishnu Damle, his secretary. It exonerated Savarkar for want of corroborative evidence to support the approver's testimony, however with the remark that the facts on the whole demolished any other theroy but the conspiracy of Savarkar and his group in the murder of Gandhi.

1. Events leading to its formation

On November 12, 1964, a religious programme was organised in Pune, to celebrate the release of the Gopal Godse, Madanlal Pahwa, Vishnu Karkare from jail after the expiry of their sentences. Dr. G. V. Ketkar, grandson of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, former editor of Kesari and then editor of Tarun Bharat, who presided over the function, revealed six months before the actual event, that Nathuram Godse disclosed his ideas to kill Gandhi and was opposed by Ketkar. Ketkar said that he passed the information to Balukaka Kanitkar who conveyed it to the then Chief Minister of Bombay State, B. G. Kher. The Indian Express in its issue of November 14, 1964, commented adversely on Ketkar's conduct that Ketkar's fore-knowledge of the assassination of Gandhi added to the mystery of the circumstances preceding to the assassination. Ketkar was arrested. A public furore ensued both outside and inside the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and both houses of the Indian parliament. There was a suggestion that there had been a deliberate dereliction of duty on the part of people in high authority, who failed to act responsibly even though they had information that could have prevented Gandhi's shooting. Under pressure of 29 members of parliament and public opinion the then Union home minister Gulzarilal Nanda, appointed Gopal Swarup Pathak, M. P. and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, in charge of inquiry of conspiracy to murder Gandhi. Since both Kanitkar and Kher were deceased, the central government intended on conducting a thorough inquiry with the help of old records in consultation with the government of Maharashtra, Pathak was given three months to conduct his inquiry. But as Pathak was appointed a central minister and then governor of Mysore state, the commission of inquiry was reconstituted and Jevanlal Kapur a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India was appointed to conduct the inquiry.

2. Working

Justice Jivanlal Kapur was appointed as a one man Commission was appointed to conduct inquiry into the conspiracy to murder Gandhi on November 21, 1966 and was completed on September 30, 1969. It examined 101 witnesses, 407 documents were produced, by witnesses, and the governments of India and Maharashtra. It had 162 sittings and traveled to Mumbai, Delhi, Nagpur, Dharwad, Pune, Baroda and Chandigarh. Counsels for governments of Maharashtra and India were R. S. Kotwal and B. B. Lal respectively, they argued their cases for 37 and 13 days respectively. G. V. Ketkar was the first witness to be examined. J. D. Nagarwala and Morarji Desai were the key witnesses who were examined for 15 and 7 days respectively. J. D. Nagarwala was the Deputy Commissioner of Police who was appointed as investigating officer on the murder case and Morarji Desai the Chief Minister of the then Bombay State.[

3. Findings

The commission pointed out various lapses and flaws on part of the Inspector General of Police of Delhi, Sanjivi. The commission remarked sumarising the Delhi investigation:

“The anxiety of the officialdom in New Delhi, to take any intelligent interest in the investigation in the bomb case is not indicated by any tangible evidence.”

On the investigation in Mumbai the commission observed:

“After the murder the police suddenly woke up into diligent activity throughout India, of which there was no evidence before the tragedy.”

The Kapur Commission was provided with evidence not produced in the court; especially the testimony of two of Savarkar's close aides - Appa Ramachandra Kasar, his bodyguard, and Gajanan Vishnu Damle, his secretary, it exonerated Savarkar for want of corroborative evidence in support of the approver’s confession, however it remarked that the facts taken together were:

“destructive of any theory other than the conspiracy to murder by Savarkar and his group(which included Godse).”

 

This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to www.yola.com and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola