Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, moved the Supreme Court on Monday to oppose a plea that seeks to reopen the assassination case of the Mahatma.
The plea is filed by Mumbai-based Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat who claims that it is one of the biggest cover-ups in history.
A bench of Justices SA Bobde and MM Shantanagoudar questioned the locus standi of Tushar Gandhi in the case.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Gandhi, said she will explain the locus if the court moves ahead with issuing of notice, but the bench said the court will wait for the amicus curiae Amrender Sharan’s report. The amicus curiae then sought four weeks time to file the report.
Gandhi’s lawyer explained to the bench that she was opposing the reopening of the assassination case and also questioned the locus standi of the petitioner.
At the end of the hearing the bench listed the matter after four weeks.
On October 6, the apex court had appointed senior advocate Sharan as amicus curiae to assist it in the matter. The bench had raised several questions about how further investigation will take place and the how evidence would be collected in 70-year-old assassination case.
including how evidence could be collected now to order further investigation into the case which had led to the conviction and execution of
Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948 by Godse, a right-wing advocate of Hindu nationalism.
Both Nathuram Vinayak Godse and Narayan Apte were convicted and then executed on November 15, 1949 for killing Gandhi.
Petitioner Phadnis has questioned the ‘three bullet theory’ relied upon by various courts of law to hold the conviction of accused Godse and Apte, who were later hanged. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was also accused of killing Gandhi but he was given the benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence.
The petitioner has also claimed that there could be a third assassin and that there was a need to investigate whether the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), an intelligence agency of the US during World War II and a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had tried to protect Gandhi.
Phadnis has challenged the decision of the Bombay High Court which on June 6, 2016 had dismissed his PIL on two grounds – first, the findings were recorded by a competent court and confirmed right up to the apex court, and second, the Kapur Commission had submitted its report and made observations in 1969, while the present petition was filed 46 years later.
(With inputs from PTI)