Indicating that the Centre has an open mind on the issue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's death in 1945, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday said its reply to an RTI was based on available official information and that if anything new comes up in the case, "it will be examined".
The government is "not denying" the findings of the Shah Nawaz Committee or any other panel that probed the matter but anything new will be examined, a Ministry official said.
"This is the fact that is available as of date... any other fact (coming our way) will be examined," he said.
The controversy was triggered by a reply from the Ministry to a Right To Information query filed by a Kolkata resident.
"The government has come to the conclusion that Netaji died in the plane crash on August 18, 1945," the Ministry said on May 31, referring to the findings of the Shah Nawaz Committee and other inquiry commissions on the subject.
"There was a conclusion in 2006 that Netaji was dead. The RTI reply was based on that conclusion. However, the issue is not closed. Any new fact, if it comes up, will be examined by the government on merit and appropriate decision taken," the Ministry spokesperson said earlier in the day.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday criticised the Centre for its "casual" handling of the RTI response which she dubbed as "shocking as it was without evidence".
"The Centre recently gave information about Netaji through a reply under the RTI Act. I am shocked to see this unilateral decision of the central government without evidence," Banerjee said in a Facebook post.
Many among Netaji's supporters, especially in Bengal, refused at the time -- and have refused since -- to believe either the fact or the circumstances connected with his death.