On Monday, February 19 a Mumbai-based Dr Pankaj Phadnis approached the Supreme Court and informed that there were some crucial documents procured from the USA's Library of Congress which proves the existence of a "larger conspiracy" behind the murder of the Father of the Nation. The apex court is hearing a petition seeking re-investigation into the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi filed by Phadnis, a trustee of charitable trust Abhinav Bharat.
The bench comprising of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said that such material needs to be brought before the court along with an application. Phadnis told the bench that the documents received from the USA contains material "banned" by the government here. He also added that has a letter from a US-based attorney who said that forensic evidence could be obtained in the case. “We will see this. It seems attractive but we will see whether it can be done," the bench told him.
The bench said that it was possible to get the forensic evidence now with technology but it would see whether the case needs re-investigation at all. The bench also told Phadnis and his amicus curiae, senior advocate Amarender Sharan that it would hear arguments in the matter on a 'non-miscellaneous day'.
While seeking to place on record the documents which were in a sealed cover, Phadnis told the bench, "This (documents) shows evidence of larger conspiracy in Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. The government of India has banned this. I have got these documents from the USA. I have also filed a petition in the Bombay High Court to lift the ban.”
Asking him to file the material along with an application, the bench told him, “If you want to produce something in the court, you tell us what it is, why it was not produced in court earlier and what is its bearing in your case.”
The petitioner said if he opened the seal of the documents, it might be an offense since the documents are banned in India. The bench asked him to file the documents for hearing on March 6.
The petitioner has sought re-opening of investigation on several grounds claiming it was one of the biggest cover-ups in the history of India. Supreme Court had earlier asked him to satisfy it on the aspects of delay and his locus to raise the issue. It also clarified that it would only go by the law and not the stature of the person involved. The amicus curiae had pointed out that there was no need to re-investigate Mahatma's assassination case as the identity of assailant Nathuram Vinayak Godse have already been duly established.
However, Phadnis had later claimed in his affidavit that the alleged conspirators were apparently hanged even before the murder trial attained legal finality from the Supreme Court.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi aka Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead at point-blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948, by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a right-wing advocate of Hindu nationalism. The assassination case had led to the conviction and execution of Godse and Narayan Apte on November 15, 1949.
The petitioner has questioned the 'three bullet theory' relied upon by various courts to hold conviction of Godse and Apte, who were hanged, and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who was given benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence.