A Mumbai resident has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court seeking a re-investigation into the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, reported PTI on Tuesday. The petitioner Pankaj Phadnis sought a fresh examination based on the forensic report of the photographs of wounds on Gandhi’s body and other evidence.
In March, the Supreme Court dismissed Phadnis’ petition seeking an investigation into the assassination. The court said his case was “based on academic research but that cannot form the basis to reopen a matter that happened 70 years ago”.
In his earlier petition, Phadnis, a trustee of the Hindutva group Abhinav Bharat, had claimed the investigation into Gandhi’s assassination was “one of the biggest cover-ups in history”. He said Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte were not the only ones who shot Gandhi. He claimed four shots were fired, and that it was the fourth bullet, fired by a mysterious person, that killed Gandhi.
In his review petition, Phadnis alleged that the Supreme Court did not have the chance to examine the material submitted by him. He also claimed that the court failed to take into account some facts he set forth in the rejoinder affidavit and only relied on the submission of amicus curiae Amrendra Sharan.
Phadnis listed two books in his fresh petition, claiming that reviewing them will lead the court to conclude that those in the highest echelons of power were complicit in the assassination. He cited Lourenco de Salvador’s Who Killed Gandhi, which is banned for import in India, and Pamella Mountbatten’s India Remembered.
Phadnis claimed that he filed a plea in the Bombay High Court seeking the production of Who Killed Gandhi as it contained information crucial to the assassination. However, the petition was not heard.
Phadnis also claimed to have obtained a report from an expert based in the United States which claims that Gandhi’s chest showed four bullet wounds.
“The matter is no longer academic and needs to be investigated,” Phadnis told The Times of India. “I have, therefore, filed a review petition seeking forensic examination of the blood-stained shawl and the watch of the Mahatma to ascertain how many wounds he suffered.”
Phadnis has also sought that a bench of seven judges hear the review petition in an open court.
Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948. Godse and Apte were executed on November 15, 1949, while the third accused, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was given the benefit of the doubt due to lack of evidence.