BHOPAL: Almost 72 years after Dr Dattatreya S Parchure was acquitted of all charges in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, his grandson Himanshu Nilkanth Parchure has come up with an affidavit, saying that the seizure memo of February 27, 1948 – produced in the murder trial, showing recovery of a spent pistol bullet from his ancestral house at Gwalior – was ‘false and fabricated’. Dattatreya Sadashiv Parchureof Gwalior was accused of providing the 9mm Beretta pistol, with which Godse had fired three shots at the Mahatma. Listed as accused Number-9 in the chargesheet, Dr Parchure was acquitted by the high court of East Punjab at Shimla. Himanshu, 61, who shifted from Gwalior to Ahmedabad long ago, says his grandmother, Sushila D Parchure, had told him on more than one occasion that she saw police “plant a bullet”, which they later showed as having been recovered from her house despite her vigorous protests. Himanshu’s affidavit has given a new lease of life to researcher Dr Pankaj Phadnis, who is seeking a fresh investigation into Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Though his review petition in Supreme Court was dismissed in February 2019, Dr Phadnis wants to continue with his fight, believing it will reveal “one of the best kept secrets in the world”. “The seizure memo was one of the factors that led to Dattatreya Parchure’ s acquittal. This affidavit has given me fresh energy to dig deeper, and strengthens my belief of a larger conspiracy behind Gandhi’s assassination. It should be unveiled to the world,” Phadnis told TOI, insisting there is more to what has been published in history books. “On February 27, 1948, a police party led by Gwalior SP Khizir Mohammad raided our house once again. There was no male member in the house. My grandmother Sushila D Parchure was present and watched all that the police were doing. She saw police personnel plant a bullet in the chowk and later pick it up, showing the planted bullet as having been recovered from our house. My grandmother protested but police paid no heed. They tried but could not succeed in getting her to sign any document,” claims Himanshu Parchure. This affidavit raises some serious questions, Phadnis says. “Was it the bullet discovered by the Gandhi family during the last ritual bath, as recorded by Manuben? Did the DSP lie when he said he was given a cartridge and not a spent bullet?” he asks. “The cartridge cannot travel with the bullet and lodge itself in the shawl of the man shot dead,” says Phadnis, arguing the recovery of the spent bullet, shown at the house of Dr Parchure, weakened the police case against him. “So, why would Sushila Dattaraya Parchure speak about this incident publicly while her husband was still alive (up to 1985)?” he asks. The question is why would police ‘plant evidence’ that favours an accused? The Amicus in the case had noted that the Gandhi Murder Trial records show recovery of a spent bullet, which was fired neither from the Beretta (606824), which Godse used for the assassination, nor from the Beretta supposedly owned by Dr Parchure (719791). However, he relied on the police seizure memo of February 27, 1948, to conclude that the spent bullet was recovered from the house of Dr. Dattatreya S Parchure at Gwalior. Pankaj Phadnis has sought a fresh examination, based on the forensic report of the photographs of wounds on Gandhi’s body and other evidence. Only a forensic examination of the blood-stained shawl of the Mahatma can end the controversy over the number of wounds he suffered, and solve the “mystery of the fourth bullet”, Phadnis argues. The Supreme Court had dismissed Phadnis’ petition for a re-investigation of the assassination. The court said his case was “based on academic research but it cannot form the basis to reopen a matter that happened 70 years ago”. “It is for the Supreme Court to take cognizance of this material development in relation to the Gandhi murder trial. Were four shots, and not three, fired at the Mahatma? The nation has the right to know the truth,” he added.

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