New Delhi: The sons of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri have sought declassification of the files relating to their father’s death in Tashkent in 1965, days after the West Bengal government released 64 secret files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Congress leader Anil Shastri on Sunday said he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking declassification of the files on his return from abroad. “Truth must come out and whatever documents are there should be in public domain," he said, insisting it was necessary in view of continued doubts surrounding Shastri’s sudden death in Tashkent in the Soviet Union on 11 January , 1966, aged 61.
Shastri had led the country during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 which formally ended following the signing of Tashkent Agreement on 10 January, 1966, a day before he died. Conspiracy theories have been swirling around his death, which was officially claimed as one caused by a heart attack, but the family suspected foul play.
He said when his father’s body arrived in India, it had “blue marks" and “white spots", which indicated “foul play". “I personally feel there could have been foul play. Can’t say so conclusively, but the negligence is clear, everyone went scot free, no one was punished," he said.
He said no postmortem examination was conducted either in Tashkent or India which could have revealed the exact cause of his death. “There was a butler who was arrested and released. My mother wanted to meet him when she went to Tashkent. But she was told he could not be traced," Shastri said.
He also said it was “very shocking that both his personal physician RN Chugh and personal assistant met with accidents. Both had to depose before the inquiry commission probing Shastri’s death. “Coincidence twice is a little improbable," he said. Anil Shastri said his father’s personal diary was never found. “He jotted down notes daily in it. It could have mentioned Tashkent Agreement. Even the thermos next to him was never brought back.
His death could have been from something in the thermos flask," he added. He hoped the files would be declassified as BJP has all along been demanding it. Another son of the former PM Sunil Shastri, a BJP leader, also said he had requested several Prime Ministers in the past for declassifying the files pertaining to his father. Naming a few, he said he approached Chandra Shekhar, IK Gujral and Manmohan Singh but ‘never got any answers’.