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After Netaji, demand raised for declassification of files related to Lal Bahadur Shastri's death

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's son Anil Shastri today claimed that his father's death was enigmatic and required further probe.He said that the Central government should declassify the files related to his
India TV News Desk September 27, 2015 8:37 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's son Anil Shastri today claimed that his father's death was enigmatic and required further probe.

He said that the Central government should declassify the files related to his father's death.

"Many people think Shastri ji's death was not natural, his face had gone blue, his diary was missing. Shastri ji's room in Tashkent did not even have bell or telephone, he could not get even first aid. Indian Embassy was careless," he said.

"I think Modi government should declassify Shastri ji's files, an inquiry committee should be setup," he added.

 “I do urge the Indian prime minister to release the documents. Not a bad idea to have an inquiry into his death, question all remaining witnesses and clear all speculation and at least establish the negligence,” Shastri, a Congress leader, told a private news channel.

Second Prime Minister of independent India Lal Bahadur Shastri died in Tashkent after signing a peace pact with Pakistan.

Also Read: Netaji was alive in China in 1948, indicates declassified file

Shastri and then Pakistani president, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, had been invited to Tashkent by then Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin for peace talks following the Indian-Pakistan War in 1965. An agreement was signed on January 10, 1966 but Shastri was found dead a few hours later, having suffered cardiac arrest.

Recalling the scene, Anil Shastri said: “When his body (Lal Bahadur Shastri) came to the Palam airport, we found that the body had turned blue and there were white spots on his temple.”

“The moment my mother (Shastri's wife Lalita Devi) saw the body, she knew it was not a natural death. She told us it was a murder, there was out and out foul play,” he said.

Anil Shastri called it “unbelievable” that the prime minister's room in the capital of then Soviet Uzbekistan had “no call bell, no telephone, no caretaker in his room and no first aid. He had to walk up to the door himself.” He alleged that the death was due to fault done by the Indian embassy and termed it as “height of negligence”.

“His death was badly handled by the Indian government. It hurts me to a great extent,” he said.

Opining that Shastri was not taken “seriously”, he said: “Post-mortem could have been done in Tashkent if there was a request from the Indian government or a request from the Indian doctors.”

“... some close associates feel that suspicion revolves around an Indian hand or a foreign power,” he said.

Anil Shastri claimed that his father had come to know about a scam involving a shipping tycoon Dharam Teja.

Citing an article by eminent journalist Khushwant Singh, Shastri claimed Teja was in Tashkent at the time of his father's death.

He also claimed that the prime minister was likely to take action and order an inquiry against Teja after his return to India.

Raising suspicions over the hand of a foreign power in his death, Anil Shastri said: “...Lal Bahadur Shastri had suddenly gained a lot of power, when he retaliated with full force against Pakistan. Whether it was America, China or any third country... I cannot name any country but the truth is Lal Bahadur Shastri was becoming very strong in the region.”

He also raised the sudden death of Dr R.N. Chugh, the personal physician accompanying the prime minister. Chugh died in an accident with his family.

Anil Shastri also added that his father's personal assistant too met with an accident, was crippled and lost his memory.

He also expressed concern over his father's missing red personal diary.

“He made daily notings in it and may have even written about the Tashkent agreement and the pressures he was under,” he said.

(With inputs from agencies)