Venkita Kalyanam, who was Mahatma Gandhi’s personal secretary between 1943 and 1948, claimed on Tuesday that he had never said that the late leader did not utter the words “Hey Ram” after he was shot. Kalyanam had told a press conference in Kerala’s Kollam city in 2006 that Gandhi did not utter those dying words.

“I never said Gandhiji did not say ‘Hey Ram’,” he told PTI on Tuesday. “What I had said was I did not hear him saying those words.”

The 96-year-old, who claims he witnessed Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948, claimed he “could not hear anything due to the commotion after the incident”.

“Everybody was shouting when the Mahatma was shot. I could not hear anything in the din,” Kalyanam said. “He may have uttered ‘Hey Ram’. I do not know.” Kalyanam added that while Nathuram Godse killed Gandhi “only once”, political parties were doing it every day by not following the freedom fighter’s teachings.

Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi had in 2006 dismissed Kalyanam’s claim that the late leader did not utter the words.