Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nehru and Patel communicate about Gandhi Assasination Investigation: Patel clean chits RSS (almost)

New Delhi
26 February 1948
 My dear Vallabhbhai,

You are so terribly busy, and I am pretty well occupied, that I hesitate to add to your work. I feel however that I must tell you what I have had in my mind for some days
While the investigation about Bapu's assassination by Godse is proceeding here and [in] Bombay and elsewhere, there appears to be a certain lack of real effort in tracing the larger Conspiracy. More and more I have come to the conclusion that Bapu's murder was not an isolated business but a part of a much wider campaign organised chiefly by the RSS. A large number of RSS men have been arrested, probably many of them more or less innocent. But a considerable number of their key men are still abroad or underground or even sometimes flourishing in the open. Many of these people are in our offices and in the police. It is hardly possible to keep anything secret from their group. I was told the other day by a responsible police officer that no search could be conducted in secret because previous intimation always reached the parties concerned.

The Delhi police has apparently a goodly number of sympathizers with the RSS. It may not be easy to deal with all of them. But I think something more than has been done can be undertaken. I have little doubt that the RSS organisation is still fairly active in many ways and will hit back when it can. To be complacent about it might lead to fresh disaster. I am told that they have taken to a number of apparently innocent activities and are utilizing them to keep their organisation in proper trim.

I do not know what exactly to suggest to you. But I have a feeling of uneasiness about the situation in Delhi specially. I think the police and the local authorities have to be kept up to the mark. They have a habit of slackening off after the spurt. What is more dangerous is that a number of them appear to sympathize with the RSS. Hence an impression is created that nothing very effective is being done. Effectiveness does not mean mass arrests but the singling out of people who count and whose potentiality for mischief is great.

Yours affectionately,
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

New Delhi 
27 February 1948

My dear Jawaharlal,

Thank you for your letter dated 26 February 1948 which I received just now.

I have kept myself almost in daily touch with the progress of the investigation regarding Bapu's assassination case. I devote a large part of my evening to discussing with Sanjevi the day's progress and giving instructions to him on any points that arise. All the main accused have given long and detailed statements of their activities. In one case, the statement extends to ninety typed pages. From their statements, it is quite clear that no part of the conspiracy took place in Delhi. The centres of acti­vity were Poona, Bombay, Ahmednagar and Gwalior. Delhi was, of course, the terminating point of their activity, but by no means its center; nor do they seem to have spent more than a day or two at a time, and that too only twice between 19 and 30 January. It also clearly emerges from these statements that the RSS was not involved in it at all. It was a fanatical wing of the Hindu Mahasabha, directly under Savarkar that [hatched] the conspiracy and saw it through. It also appears that the conspiracy was limited to some ten men, of whom all except two have been got hold of. Every bit of these statements is being carefully checked up and verified and scrutinized, and where necessary, followed up. San­jevi devotes a considerable time every day to it. Senior officers of Bombay and GP are in charge of the investigation. Delhi police hardly comes in the picture.

Of course, it is impossible for us at this stage to publicize any of these things or to say anything publicly about what is being done to unearth the conspiracy. Every item of information that is being communicated to us through sources, known and unknown, real, anonymous or pseudonymous, is being investigated. More than 90 per cent of these have been found to be just imagination. Most of these have been directed to the activities of RSS men in various centers. We have followed this up, and except vague allegations that sweets were distributed or joy was expressed, hardly anything of substance has been found in them. After having dealt with these matters at first hand and discussed these matters in detail with Sanjevi and other officers who are in charge of this investigation, including the Public Prosecutor of Bombay, Mr, Pettigarah, who has been advising the investigators on legal points, I have come to the conclusion that the conspiracy of Bapu's assassination was not so wide as is generally assumed, but was restricted to a handful of men who have been his enemies for a very considerable time:—the antipathy can be traced right to the time when Bapu went for his talks with Jinnah, when Godse went on a fast and some others of the conspirators went to Wardha to prevent him [Bapu] from going. Of course, his assassination was welcomed by those of the RSS and the Mahasabha who were strongly opposed to his way of thinking and to his policy. But beyond this, I do not think it is possible, on the evidence which has come before us, to implicate any other members of the RSS or the Hindu Mahasabha. The RSS have undoubtedly other sins and crimes to answer for, but not for this one. If you have any time, I would be glad to send to you Sanjevi and Rana, DIG, CID, Bombay, who are here. They could explain to you the whole case as it has emerged from the investigation. They say they will take another ten days or a fortnight, at the end of which the case will be ripe for being placed in the hands of the Public Prosecutor. As soon as the Public Prosecutor is ready, we hope to appoint a Special Judge to try the case in Delhi.
As regards the RSS in Delhi, I am not aware of any prominent men or active workers whom we have left out. We hear all sorts of reports from somebody or the other regarding a certain person being an active member or not. In some cases, on such reports, arrests were made, and we soon found representation coming from Congressmen themselves testifying to their Congress sympathies and anti-RSS views. We had to release them. In other cases, on arrests of RSS people being made on similar information both we and the Provincial Governments are being accused of rounding up innocent people. In, the case of a secret organisation like the RSS which has no records of membership, no registers, etc., securing of authentic information whether a particular individual is an active worker or not is rendered a very difficult task. Nevertheless, I am assured that practically all the important workers of RSS in Delhi have been rounded up. Indeed, some knowledgeable people tell me that we have rounded up more than necessary. I have already asked Provincial Governments, including Delhi, to let us know what has been the result of these arrests, how many have been arrested, how many have been released, what has been revealed in searches, etc. As soon as these reports come in, we shall have to consider our next step. If there are any key men who are still at large, I should like to know their names, so that we can follow them up.

I quite realize that police and the local authorities who are in Delhi or elsewhere have an appreciable number of RSS sympathizers. Here again, however, the difficulty is to locate the men. Whenever I have received the least information about the names, and particulars of any RSS men in Government service, I have communicated them to Sanjevi or Mehra. In some cases, Government servants in Delhi have already been arrested for RSS activities. Delhi's quota of RSS arrests compares favorably with that of any other place or province. I doubt, therefore, whether the accusation can be substantiated that Delhi police or local authorities have been inactive on account of RSS sympathies. However, I shall again have a discussion with Mehra on the particular problems which you have mentioned and see what further action could be taken.

Yours sincerely, 
Vallabhbhai Patel
The Hon'ble Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
New Delhi

Mahatma Gandhi Assassination: Excerpts from case diary

Interesting, even in the aftermath of Mahatma's assasination, the police departments seem to be fighting turf wars.

I again explained the full facts of Karkare before Mr. Nagarwala, and also I told Mr. Nagarwala that Madan Lai accused had stated that one of the ac­cused was the editor of the Agirni or Hindu Rashtarya newspaper, he was of sallow complexion aged 33/34, 5/6" in height and it is not known to him whether he is of Bombay or Poona. Besides these two, I had stated the des­cription of three Maharatas and one Raja Sahib. Their description was explain­ed by mc to Mr. Nagarwala. About the editor Hindu Rashtarya or Agirni and Karkare, special request was made that they have been named by their co-accused, therefore, they should be arrested first so that we may be able to get the clue of the others from them.

22-1-1948, 11.30 a.m. : Mr. Nagarwala stated that his information is that there are more persons in this party. This party is of about 25 persons, all are responsible for this conspiracy. Special arrangements for the arrest of Karkare have been made in Bombay and in Poona [and] Ahmednagar. About the other suspects, they have located three or four at present, but our scheme is to first locate all, and then their arrest will be carried out. If at present we will arrest three or four from them, by doing this we will not succeed in the arrest of others.
About Ahmednagar, he said that he will accompany us, when he will get the information, but you should not go there now. He then sent for Mr. Kargaonkar, Inspector CID, Bombay, who came inside his office. He ordered his Inspector to arrange for our lodging at a place where nobody can know about our arrival. He also instructed us not to give our Delhi address in the hotel's register and in our presence, he contacted one police officer on phone at Ahmednagar and also got New Delhi. Immediate trunk call booked, for DIG, CID Poona. He also said that he would first consult the H.M., Bombay, and then he will take further action against the accused.
22-1-1948, 2 p.m. : At this time we reached the house of Inspector Mr. Kargaonkar, CID, Bombay, with our kits, and stayed in one room in the said Inspector's flat.
22-1-1948, 4 p.m. : At this time we reached the CID Office, Bombay, and Inspector, CID, Bombay, said that your presence here is not required; so we returned to his house and reached his house.
22-1-1948, 7.30 p.m. : At this time, Mr. Kargaonkar, Inspector of Police, CID, Bombay, with Deputy Inspector and Sub-Inspector came back to his house and he said that they had located few suspects, and had deputed their police for the other suspects, who are not located as yet. He is definite that they will succeed in tracing all the suspects.
For Karkare and the editor of Agirni or Hindu Rashtarya newspaper, he said that one Inspector of Police from Ahmednagar is coming tomorrow and will come to know about those two and then will arrange for their arrests.
22-1-1948, 8 pm.: We slept at Inspector CID** Bombay house. Case Diary prepared and kept.

Sd. Jaswant Singh DSP 

Attested : True translation ot CD. dated 22-1-J943.
Jaswant Singh DSP

FIR No 40 dated 20-1-1948
U/S 4/5 Explosive Act, P S Tughlak Road.
Writer : DSP Jaswant Singh.
Written at : Bombay.


Reference Case Diary dated 22-1-43, I submit that at this time I with Malik Bal Kishan, Inspector, Delhi, and Mr. Kargaonkar, Inspr. CID, Bombay, reached the CID Office, Bombay, and met Mr. Nagarwala who gave lists of passengers who left Bombay for Delhi From 13-1-1948 to 20-1-1948 and said that he was going for an urgent work, he would be coming back within no time and would give further instructions.

I have gone through thtse statements and nothing fruitful comes to my notice at present.

Mr. Kargaonkar, Inspr. CID, Bombay, informed us that Inspr. of Police from Ahmednagar had arrived and he had been sent back again, by the D. C. Mr Nagarwala with special instruction. Karkare is not there. Inspector of Police, Ahmednagar, has been ordered to search the editor required in this case; CID, Bombay, has also received similar orders about the search of editor of Agrini or Hindu Rashtarya newspaper.

At this time, I enquired about the previous history of Karkare from Inspector of Police, Bombay, and requested him to give me some idea of his information about the culprits of this case.

On this, Inspector CID, Bombay, said that Karkare's full name is V. R. Karkare who is a proprietor of the Deccan Guest House, Ahmednagar. He is a prominent worker of the Hindu Mahasabha and a social worker. He used to go to refugees in Chambor Camp. His connections are with the big leaders or the H M.S. [Hindu Mahasabha]

The following arc his co-accused and associates :

  1. Mr Badge of Poona, a worker of the H.M.S.
  2. Autar Singh, Punjabi Sikh of Amritsar (now proprietor, Sher-Punjab Hotel, Bombay). He is the man who supplies arms and arranges for the collection of arms. He is under arrest and was in jail before this occurrence.
  3. Mr. Talwar of Karachi now in Bombay.
  4. Mr. Balraj Mehta of Lahore (now Shivaji Park, Bombay).

    All the above persons are workers of the H.M.S. and they often work with Karkare in such matters. And the Inspector hesitated to give further details.
      23-1-1948, 12-30 p.m. : At this time, D.C., Bombay, arrived in the office, and he said that he is doing his best for the arrest of these suspects, and further remarked that I am not required here at present; when required, he will call me, and he ordered that I should go back to Delhi. At this stage, again a request was made that according to our accused's statement, Karkare and the editor of Agirni or Hindu Rashtarya are named in his statement, and if they are arrested, they should be sent to Delhi. He agreed. Further the D.C. Bombay instructed us that at our arrival in Delhi I should inform the Bombay Police about the further development from the statement of Madan Lal accused.
        At this time a brief note on this case with the name and description of the accused wanted in this case was handed over to the Inspector CID, Bombay. A request was made again that he should inform us about the arrest of Karkare and the editor of Agirni and he will arrange to send them to Delhi.
          23-1-1948, 3 p.m.: We left Bombay by train.
            Sd. Jaswant Singh 
              Note: 24-1-1948: Arrived at Delhi. Case Diary prepared and kept 24-1-1948.
                Jaswant Singh 
                  Attested : True translation of CD. dated 23-1-1948.
                    Jaswant Singh 

                      Letter from Sardar Patel to Rafi Ahmed Kidwai

                      While I was reading through letters of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, here is an interesting letter that he wrote to Rafi Ahmed Kidwai.

                      New Delhi
                      25 July 1948
                      My dear Rafi,

                      This morning a person entered my house in the dirtiest clothes possible and looked like more of an intruder than any-body else. My peons and my guards took him as such and would have also dealt with him as such had he not announced that he was a telegraph peon and had telegrams to deliver.

                      I am sure that you will agree that it is a disgrace to us all if telegraph peons, or for that matter other peons, go about in such filthy condition. The telegraph peon have to go to embassies, consulates etc. I wonder what they must be thinking of the standard of the cleanliness and smartness of our postal peons when they see them in this condition. I think in the capital city of Delhi we must insist on better turnout of our staff. I suggest, therefore that you may issue instructions that in Delhi every telegraph and postal peon must be properly dressed and must be in clean clothes. I see no difficulty in regard to the issue of uniforms. If there are difficulties, they must be overcome in the fair name of this country.

                      Yours sincerely,
                      Vallabhbhai Patel
                      The Hon'ble Mr. Rafi Ahmed Kidwai
                      Minister for Communications
                      New Delhi

                      Tuesday, March 4, 2014

                      Fact checkers in India

                      Finally somebody has taken it upon themselves to start fact checking the claims made by politicians. Just read an article in Mint about claims made by Mr. Narendra Modi in a speech yesterday.

                      Here is the summary.
                      Mr. Modi made two claims, 1) only 23% homes have latrines in Bihar 2) 16% homes have electricity in Bihar. Both facts are right from the census data.

                      What is bothering me is the fact that Mr. Modi is truthful but is being economical with truth. Have a look at chart below.

                      As we can see Mr. Modi is right about Bihar, it is really at the bottom of the ranking, but I have two questions in my mind. Mr. Modi's party was ally of Mr. Nitish Kumar till few months back and why did they not do anything about it and Mr. Modi is running Gujarat for last 15 years and why did he not do anything about it there. To put it is perspective, as per 2001 census data, Gujarat was 18th in the list and in 2011 it is 21st. So I would say it is hard to believe Mr. Modi when he claims that he can fix the problem in Bihar.

                      As we can see from the chart above, Gujarat ranks 16 th in Electricity availability as per 2011 census. The same census data suggests that it ranked 11th in 2001.
                      So, Mr. Modi is right when he claims that Bihar has not progressed enough under the government of Mr. Nitish Kumar. It still lies at the bottom of the pool along with UP. He should take the share of the blame since his party was running the government with Mr. Nitish Kumar till some month ago. Mr. Modi is not so right when he claims that he can fix it because on these two accounts, Gujarat has gone down in the ranking of states.