Supreme Court: The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and SA Bobde, JJ appointed Senior Advocate Amrender Sharan as amicus curiae to assist the Court in the plea seeking re-investigation of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The petition filed by Mumbai-based Dr Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat, has sought reopening of the probe on several grounds, claiming it was one of the biggest cover-ups in history.
The bench that, while hearing the plea, said that nothing can be done in law in the case which has been decided long ago, told the amicus that this observation was not binding on him to make an assessment of the matter and posted it for further hearing on October 30.
The petitioner said that appeals filed by the convicts in the assassination case were dismissed in 1949 by the East Punjab High Court, following which the Privy Council had sent the matter back on the ground that the Supreme Court of India will come into existence in January 1950. He also said that another person might be involved in firing shots at Mahatma Gandhi. To which the Court responded by saying:
“You say that there was someone else, a third person who killed him (Gandhi). Is that person alive today to face the trial?”
The petitioner responded by saying that he did not know if that person is alive but investigation should be ordered to ascertain the truth. He also said that there was a possibility that the assassination was carried out by an organised body.
In the petition, the petitioner has also questioned the ‘three bullet theory’ relied upon by various courts of law to hold the conviction of Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, who were hanged to death on November 15, 1949, and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who was given the benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence. He has claimed that the Justice J L Kapur Commission of Inquiry set up in 1966 was not able to unearth the entire conspiracy that had led to the killing of Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948 by Nathuram Vinayak Godse.