PIL Seeks New Commission to Probe Gandhi’s Murder

M.K. Gandhi at his spinning wheel in the 1920s. Credit: Wikipedia

M.K. Gandhi at his spinning wheel in the 1920s. Credit: Wikipedia

Mumbai: A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay high court on May 26 sought the appointment of a commission of inquiry to probe afresh the murder of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, and the conspiracy behind it.

The PIL – filed by Pankaj Phadnis, author, researcher and trustee of Abhinav Bharat, Mumbai – claims that the then J. L. Kapur Commission of Inquiry was unable to reveal the entire conspiracy that resulted in Gandhi’s assassination.

According to the prosecution, Gandhi was shot by an assassin with a revolver that had seven bullet compartments. He received three bullet injuries while the police recovered the remaining four bullets from the revolver.

However, the PIL alleges that Gandhi received four bullet wounds and the petitioner has produced media clippings to prove this.

The PIL, slated for hearing on June 6 before a bench headed by Chief Justice D. H. Waghela, says that the new commission should find out who fired the fourth shot and establish whether there was an assassin apart from Nathuram Godse.

The PIL further claims that Gandhi was planning to visit Pakistan to revive contact between the people of Pakistan and India, but was shot dead prior to his departure.

It says that the commission should therefore investigate whether the motive of Gandhi’s murder was to cause enmity between the people of India and Pakistan by sabotaging the Gandhi-Jinnah reconciliation project of reviving people-to-people contact, and also whether anyone apart from those accused in Gandhi’s murder trial knew about the conspiracy or had participated in such a conspiracy previously.

The petition finally alleges that the Kapur Commission made certain adverse observations about Veer Savarkar to the effect that he was involved in Gandhi’s murder. It demands that these observations be removed, since Savarkar was acquitted as an accused during the trial.

Inspired by Veer Savarkar, Abinav Bharat, Mumbai, was set up in 2001 to work for the economically disadvantaged with a focus on bridging the digital divide.

The PIL seeks the de-registration of Abhinav Bharat, Pune, with which the Mumbai Trust has no connection. According to Phadnis, this petition has been admitted by the high court.