Andhra Accused Acquitted In Gandhi’s Assassination Case

Not many are aware that there was a Telugu person among the accused in Mahatma Gandhi assassination case. Shankar Kistaiya’s details came to light in the inquiry taken up under RTI, elaborates Central Information Commissioner Dr Madabhushi Sridhar in the second of the four-part article.

RTI on Assassination of Mahatma-2

Madabhushi Sridhar

The RTI request and subsequent second appeal revealed that there was a Telugu person Shankar Kistaiya, accused in Gandhi’s assassination. The appellant and other sources mentioned that two accused namely Dattatraya Parchure, and Shankar Kistaiya were acquitted. As per the records available, Shankar Kistaiya and Dattatraya Parchure were sentenced to transportation for life. However, Bombay High Court in Gopal Vinayak Godse vs The Union of India and Ors, decided on 6 August 1969, AIR 1971 Bom 56, (1970) mentioned that: “In appeal, the Punjab High Court acquitted two more — Dr. Parchure and Shankar Kistayya. The conviction and sentence of the five others was confirmed. Nathuram had appealed against his conviction on the charge of conspiracy only. He neither challenged his conviction for murder nor the sentence of death passed on him. The statement made by him in Trial Court under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was proscribed by the Government of India…Nathuram and Apte were executed in the Ambala Jail on the 15 November 1949. Gopal Godse and another accused called Karkare were transferred from the Ambala Jail to Nasik Road Central Prison in Maharashtra on 19 May 1950. Gopal Godse was thereafter transferred to the Aurangabad Central Prison. Gopal Godse filed several petitions in the Supreme Court praying that he be directed to be released. He was sentenced by the Trial Court on 10 February 1949 and his contention was that taking into consideration the remissions earned by him he was entitled to be released. He was eventually released from jail on 13 October 1964, during the pendency of one of such petitions, in which he was directed to be produced before the Supreme Court on the 19 October 1964. He was arrested again on the 25 November 1964 under the Defence of India Act. He was released from detention on 30 November 1965.”

The records pertaining to charge-sheet show that three accused were absconding as pointed out. But the National Archives of India cannot give any opinion or information about why they were not arrested etc.  Appellant sought copy of ‘final charge sheet’. The records did not show any thing like primary or final, but there is one charge sheet and some documents containing framing of charges by the Court, which are inspected by the appellant. NAI did not possess any of the Jail records hence they could not provide a copy of order of execution of Nathuram Godse and another accused.

Trial of persons accused of participation and complicity in Gandhi’s assassination in the Special Court in Red Fort Delhi

 

The Commission directed NAI to transfer the RTI to following public authorities:

  • The PMO for their information and necessary action to formulate appropriate policy to build archives of records regarding Mahatma Gandhi Assassination, investigation, trial, punishment, official correspondence, and action taken on the recommendations of JL Kapur Commission;
  • Ministry of Home Affairs, for records of investigation and prosecution of Mahatma Gandhi assassins (from Police), imprisonment and execution of accused (from Jail authorities), record containing reasons to acquittal of two accused in appeal and any other record from Mumbai or Pune or any other place where the investigation resulted in arresting accused etc, correspondence with Government of Bombay/ Maharasthra;
  • The Station House Officer, Tughlak Road Police Station, for case diaries or any other record showing investigation etc, including efforts to trace three absconding accused (if any of accused were absconding) in Gandhi Murder case;
  • The Registrar General of Supreme Court of India, for any judicial record on Gandhi Murder case from of any of courts; and
  • The Secretary General of Parliament of India, for complete record of Justice J L Kapur Commission including the original report on conspiracy to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi.

The CPIO of Ministry of Home Affairs, more particularly the Delhi Police, or Tughlak Road Police Station is directed to provide original records of investigation of Mahatma Gandhi Murder Trial such as investigation reports, case diaries or any other communication or correspondence they have, final charge sheet, if any, or any record showing efforts to arrest the accused  Gangadhar Dahawate,  Surya Dev Sharma and Gangadhar Yadav to the NAI for preservation under Archives, inspection of which the NAI may offer to the appellant. (Based on decision dated 16.2.2017 in CIC/SH/A/2016/001055 Hemanta Panda v. PIO, M/o Culture)

(To be continued)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.