Background: The following has been reproduced verbatim from the official documents (printed in 6 volumes) of the Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case Vol. II (Statements of the accused): The following is the written statement of Savarkar:
IN THE COURT OF THE SPECIAL JUDGE, RED FORT, DELHI
CRIMINAL CASE NO. OF 1948
GODSE and others, -Accused.
Charged under Section 120B., 302 etc.
Herein the Accused No. 7, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, begs to state as follows:-
As one enters this house on the left hand of this middle hall on the ground floor a set of rooms is rented out. For the last few years Mr. A.S. Bhide has been residing there as a tenant with his family. He was the Editor of an English Weekly named “Free Hindusthan” and was a prominent leader of the Bombay and Maharashtra Provincial Hindu Sabhas. On the right hand side of this middle hall there has been residing Mr G.V. Damle with his family in a second set of rooms. Besides being my Secretary, Mr G.V. Damle has been an independent and prominent worker in the Dadar and Bombay Provincial Hindu Sabhas.
I myself with my family resided on the first floor of the House. My personal office and reception room were situated in the middle hall on this first floor. To avoid strain on my declining health no public visitors or workers were allowed to go upstairs on this first floor to see me unless specially permitted to do so by me through the Secretary. All interviews were granted by me after special appointments only. On this first floor also there is a set of rooms rented out to a tenant with his family.
Some implied allegations of the Prosecution compel me to note here,- which otherwise my sense of humility could never have allowed me to do so - that thousands of persons from all parts of India and at times from foreign countries too used to visit this Savarkar Sadan. From Princes to peasants, and from all India leaders belonging to different parties as Sanatanists and Socialists, Hindusabhaites and Congressites down to youths in Colleges and Schools numerous persons and personalities used to visit Savarkar Sadan day in and day out. Press representatives and distinguished political observers from America, England, Russia, Africa and other parts of the world too often visited Savarkar Sadan to interview me. To regulate visitors one or two Gurkhas and Sikhs used to be on service as watchmen at the entrance-door. (Se Evidence P.W. 57 pages 222 and 223).
It is enough for the purpose of this case to note that the Mahasabha is a registered association founded by such prominent men as Lala Lajpat Rai and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. Among its Presidents we find such distinguished names as Vijaya Raghavadhariyar, Ramanand Chatterjee, N.C. Kelkar, Bhai Parmanand, Dr. Moonje and others. It will be noted that some of these founders and Presidents had been Presidents and prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress too. The chief object of the Mahasabha was Hindu Sanghatan, i.e., the political and social consolidation and militarization of the Hindus. The Hindus being what they call in political science ‘National majority’ in India, the Mahasabha held that their consolidation should be effected in such a way as to render them the very bedrock on which a free and powerful Indian State could be powerfully safely and solidly raised. It maintained that the Indian State should be essentially a secular State and constituted in such a way that every loyal citizen thereof should have equal rights and duties irrespective of religion, caste or creed. It did not claim an inch more for the Hindus as Hindus than what was their national due. But it refused to tolerate that the Hindus should be robbed of what was their due to enable the Moslems to get more than their due, simply because they were Moslems and would not otherwise behave as loyal citizens. It was putting a premium on treachery. That is why the Mahasabha opposed the Communal Award, which very nearly meant that three Hindus should have one vote and one Moslem should have three votes.
The Mahasabha rapidly rose to the position of being recognized as one of the three pre-eminent All-India organizations –the Congress, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League. It had often been called upon to send its representatives at the Round Table Conferences in England and to other consultative bodies. As its President, I had myself been invited on several occasions to interviews, by different Viceroys and Governors to represent its viewpoint on foremost political questions. At the time of Cripps’ Mission too, on invitation from the Government I led the Mahasabha deputation to represent its views. It was the only body of the three foremost All India Organisations, which refused uncompromisingly to accept that clause in the Cripps Scheme, which sought to lay an axe at the very root of the integrity of the Indian State by demanding the vivisection of our motherland.
The Mahasabha had had its branches in all Provinces and almost all districts in India. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus –from seasonal leaders to rising youths –rallied round the Hindu Sanghatan ideology which the Mahasabha developed and preached and which later on came to be popularly styled as Savarkarism, as in the capacity of the President of the Mahasabha for six continuous years I was naturally looked upon as its authoritative spokesman. Through my organizational correspondences, tours, writings and speeches I came into personal contact with thousands of leaders, workers and members of Mahasabha all over India.
In accordance with the organizational discipline the local, district and provincial branches of the Hindu Mahasabha were required to send reports of their work to my Presidential office at Bombay. From such periodical reports from the Poona Hindu Sabha, I knew that Badge had been working as a paid and at times unpaid propagandist at Poona. He forwarded to me once or twice the reports of a shop for selling licenced arms, conducted by him, and requested me for some monetary help. Those letters will be dealt with in my statement later on. Beyond this, I knew nothing about Badge. He never came into personal contact with me. Dr. Parchure used to send me reports of the Hindu Mahasabha work at Gwalior, for a few years. He wrote to me that he had organized a volunteer corps named “Hindu Rashtra Sena” to help the Hindu Sanghatan movement. One of the prosecution witnesses says that he himself had been a member of the Sena and used to attend its parades and has given evidence before this Court that ‘the object of this Rashtra Sena was to unite the Hindu youths’, (see P.W. 39, page 137). Since my resignation from the Presidentship some four years ago I had heard nothing from Dr. Parchure. He too did not come into any personal contact with me worth the name. I used to hear of Mr. Karkare from reports of the Hindu Sabha at Nagar that he had been tirelessly working for the Hindu militarisation, Sanghatan and Shuddhi-work with Mr. Apte, who wrote to me once or twice of Karkare’s successful Municipal election on Hindu Sabha ticket. But Karkare never wrote to me nor did he come into personal contact with me (See P.W. 129, page 3). Since my illness for the last three years or so, I had not even heard of him any time. Mr. Apte and Pandit Godse got themselves introduced to me as Hindu Sabha workers at Nagar and Poona and later on came to be personally acquainted with me.
The Hindu Militarization always figured as a very prominent item in the Mahasabha programme. I learnt from his letter that Apte was doing some work in Nagar in this direction. On enquiry from leaders in that part I found that it was true and that he had already secured the Government permission from the then Home Member. Later on Mr. Ape organized a center of Rifle Clubs meeting in Poona presided over by Sir Raghunathrao Paranjpe (See Apte’s letters marked D. 27, and D. 28). He was then appointed as an Honorary Technical Recruiting Officer by the military authorities and finally he secured King’s Commission in the Air Force. He worked in the Hindu Sabha too. Of the 10 to 12 letters written by him to me and produced before the Court almost all are reports of the Rifle Clubs and Hindu Sabha work done by him.
Godse too was working on the same lines as Apte. He had been sending to me reports of his visits to different parts of Maharashtra as a propagandist, regarding the work he did and his views and suggestions in connection with the local Sabha work. The organizational discipline required every District and Provincial worker to submit such reports to my Presidential office. Of the 15 to 20 letters produced before the Court written by Godse to me almost all relate to such organizational reports only.
The Prosecution has produced some letters constituting the correspondence of Godse and Apte with me and has dubbed it as its documentary evidence against me. By pointing out references in the correspondence to ‘Agrani’ my tours and some such other topics, the Prosecution claims to prove some vague association of theirs with me. But the detailed analysis will show what the association really meant and so far as it went how it was of a perfectly legitimate and legal nature. I shall prove it on the strength of those very letters which are produced by the Prosecution as its evidence against me.
(a) Agrani or Hindu Rashtra:-
Like all other Hindu Sanghatanist leaders in India, I too had been trying to encourage and aid every effort to start new Mahasabhaite dailies in all Provinces of India. Apte and Godse had long been trying to start a Marathi daily to propagate the Hindu ideology and pressing me to lend my moral and financial support to them. When I saw that they had secured financial and moral support from some leading and responsible Hindu leaders sufficient to render their venture feasible, I agreed to advance a sum of Rs. 15,000 on three conditions. The first was that the advance being a loan, a joint promissory note should be passed on to me signed by Apte and Godse; secondly, the concern should be incorporated as son as possible into a limited company; and the third was that my loan should be converted into the share money of the said company. Accordingly, both of them passed a promissory note to me signed jointly by them in due course. An incorporated company named “The Hindu Rashtra Prakashan Ltd.” Was set on foot, registered and my loan too was got transferred into its share-money. It is on record that many well-known and well-to-do Hindu leaders had contributed large sums ranging from five to ten thousand each. Seth Gulab Chand Hira Chand (a brother of Seth Walchand Hirachand of the Scindia Steam navigation Co.), Mr. Shingre was ex-Minister of the Bhor State, Mr. Vishnu Pant Velankar a mill-owner and millionaire of Sangli, Shreeman Bhalji Pendharkar a cinema magnate of Kolhapur, Mr. Thopate on whom the distinction of ‘Nagar-Bhushan’ was conferred by the Raja of Bhor, Shreeman Chandrashekhar Agashe, Rao Bahadur Shembekar of Baramati, Shreeman Seth Jugalkishore Birla (see Godse’s letter G-74 D.29) and several others had either handsomely contributed their quota to the share-capital of this company, or to the donation list of the Hindu Rashtra.
Every one of these facts quoted in the paragraph above is borne out by evidence of the Prosecution itself (see P.W. 57, pages 233, 234, 243, 254, P.W. 60, page 320 and P.W. 86 page 420 and letters of Godse and Apte marked P.277-P.293). Godse himself admits that it was not only Agrani but that he knew that I, as a leader of the movement had been helping several papers, such as Vikram, Free Hindusthan and others, morally and financially, (see letter G.70-P.293).
It will be clear from the above facts that the Agrani was backed up by me not because it was Apte-Godse’s concern but because it was a Mahasabhaite party paper and was helped not only by me in particular but by numerous responsible and respectable leaders of the Hindu Sanghatanist movement.
(b) The policy of Agrani entirely controlled by Godse and Apte:-
Both Godse and Apte started the paper as their own concern and consequently the policy of the paper too was entirely under their control. Although to secure wide popularity and influence they continued pressing me to allow my name to be associated with the paper, either as chief editor or atleast as founder or patron, yet I never agreed to do so. I made it clear to them that my position demanded that I should be their well-wisher and supporter, only in common with all other papers throughout India which represented and propagated Hindu Mahasabha ideology as it developed under my lead and was popularly called by them as “Savarkar-Vad”, and that I would support the paper only in so far as it represented it.
My photo in Daily Agrani:-
Nevertheless Apte and Godse decided of their own accord atleast to print my photo block on the front page of their daily issue as I was the President of the Hindu Mahasabha. Several other Hindu-minded papers in other Provinces in India too had been printing my photo on their front pages. So I found nothing objectionable in it. But curiously enough the Prosecution in its opening speech had made a special mention of this feature, to suggest that it indicated my direct contact of and association with the policy of the paper. It is very common in India that papers published such photo-blocks on their front pages of each issue. Some papers printed the photo of Mahatma Gandhi on their front page as a prominent feature in his life-time,-papers which perhaps Gandhiji himself never read or knew of. The well-known “Kesari” of Poona has a permanent feature the photo of the Great Tilak displayed on its front page. But surely, even a spiritist will never suggest in a Court of law that it indicates that the departed soul of Lokmanya Tilak should still be held responsible for the policy of the Kesari to-day, and will admit that it is the editor who is, in law and fact, responsible for displaying the photos of leaders and not that the photoed leaders are responsible for the policy of the editor!
Still more convincing fact to show that I never personally accepted the responsibility to identify myself with the policy and control of Agrani (i.e. the Hindu rashtra), is provided by the Prosecution itself. They have produced a letter written by me to Godse and Apte jointly (see SGA-# Exhibit P.302).
The occasion to write that letter was this. Apte and Godse after a year or so they had started the paper, secured a press for the same. Thereupon they saw me and insisted again on the proposal that if I agreed to identify myself with the policy of the paper by allowing my name to be written in the agreement, at least as a founder or patron they would be in a position to secure the press on better and easier terms. For reasons given above I could not do so. After they left, I felt that it was much better that should send a written note to them, so that my name may not be misused through misunderstanding real or otherwise, and that the policy of the paper should continue to be entirely theirs. Consequently I (Savarkar) write about one point very clearly so that any confusion in the oral talk it may not be lost sight of. (i) It must appear in writing in the agreement that the policy of Agrani must remain exclusively and unconditionally in the hands of the you two (Godse and Apte).”
(c) I never wrote in “Agrani”:-
Messers. Apte and Godse pressed me even from the very first issue of Agrani to write for it any small note I could. They suggested that they would publish my articles in the privileged editorial columns too (See Godse’s letter G-61, dated 10th March 1944 - P.291). But I could not and never did write anything specially for “Agrani”. Hundreds of leading journals without party considerations throughout India and abroad used to request me for some written contribution. I would have been partial if I wrote to some and failed to write for others. Besides, I had so much table work to do for the Hindu Sanghatan movement and write so much independently on its account that I as a rule declined to write specially for any journal whatsoever. Again, my statements and articles released for the press in general and broadcasted by the press agencies were already so numerous and so varied that there did not seem any necessity to write specially for special papers. The Agrani could and did publish those my public press statements, notes and special messages issued and signed by me. But besides that I wrote nothing for it. I regretted it, but could not make ‘Agrani’ an exception. This fact can be incontestablt borne out by Prosecution itself. The ‘Agrani’ could and did publish those my press statements, notes and special messages issued and signed by me. But besides that I wrote nothing for it. At times Apte and Godse were highly displeased on this account. I regretted it, but could not make ‘Agrani’ an exception. This fact can be incontestably borne out by referring to the letters sent to me by Godse, Apte and which Prosecution itself has produced as their exhibits. Only one extract from them need be quoted here. The Prosecution translates it thus:-
The letter of Godse marked G-70 (Exhibit P/293) says:-
“For the daily newspaper ‘Agrani’ you have put into our hands a large sum of rupees fifteen thousand without taking any security whatsoever but merely on a promissory note.
“On the 25th day of this month i.e. 25 days after today the daily – “Agrani” – will complete two years…We attracted the well-to-do supporters who invested their capital in the press for “Agrani”…’
“When we opened before you (Savarkar) the financial aspect of “Agrani” we noticed you to be labouring under the misunderstanding that we are asking you (Savarkar) to tear off the promissory note passed to you by us…”
“Shriman Gulab Chand had come here last Monday. We had a talk with him. He had sent us rupees five thousand for a period of one month…”
“Although I remember the very substantial financial aid rendered by to ‘Agrani’ and although I can see that ‘Vikram’ and ‘Free-Hindusthan’ too are in need of your help, I would wish to place before you the following facts…”
“…My suggestion is that you should invest further ten thousand rupees in this newspaper, and should charge interest on the whole amount, i.e. on rupees twenty-five thousand at the rate of three per centum…”
“Now I will write about another part (aspect) of this newspaper. Gandhiji’s ‘Harijan’ has been restarted. At least ten columns of writings in Gandhiji’s own name and on a variety of topics appear in that paper. Unfortunately ‘Agrani’ did not get even the slightest benefit (privilege) of your (Savarkar’s) writing, ‘Kesari’ had direct benefit of (Lokmanya) Tilak i.e. his writings. In ‘Harijan’ Gandhi is himself writing (articles)…”
“As soon as your health improves than what it is, you please write at least one article every week and not only on politics or Hinduism, but on revolution, mechanization, physics, intellectualism, literature, history, philosophy, poetry and such variety of subjects. This is my repeated prayer which I offer with folded hands…”
“It is not within propriety to speak in terms of money to you (Savarkar). If you begin to contribute articles to the ‘Agrani’ regularly and on various topics, then with the intention that a part of the profit which ‘Agrani’ makes may be spent in your worship and out of devotion (for you). I shall send you (Savarkar) rupees one hundred per month…”
It is needless to mention that in spite of the sincere but silly suggestion about paying me for any writings, I could not write in Agrani, nor could I advance any more financial help to it for reasons already explained above.
(d) Godse and Apte on tours with me:-
The prosecution has made much of the fact that Godse and on a few occasions Apte had joined the party which accompanied me on some of my tours. Out of the seventeen letters from Godse which the Prosecution has exhibited, not less than ten are produced before the Court only to prove the simple fact that Godse wished and at times did accompany me. Whenever I went on tour, number of distinguished leaders and workers used to join my party from station to station. At times the parties were so large that special bogies had to be reserved for my tours. During the last eight years or so I had undertaken not less than a hundred or so long tours and visited and addressed thousands of places – cities to villages throughout India. Out of these on some ten to twelve tours only Godse or Apte might have accompanied me. Nay, further than that it would seem from a reference to the letters produced by the prosecution itself that Pandit Nathuram was allowed to join my party on tours on his own pressing requests and was sometimes told that it was regretted that he could not be included in the party for giving equal chances to other equally enthusiastic volunteers. Some extracts from Godse’s letter are so relevant to prove the facts above as to demand quotations below. Prosecution itself has translated the letters thus:-
In his letter, dated 10th November 1941 (marked G-26) Exhibit P.278) Godse says :-
“P……….Please let me know in reply as to when I should come to Bombay for the Assam tour and the date and train of your (Savarkar’s) intended departure. Many good workers in Maharashtra have been expressing a desire to acquire experience and education to be imbibed from the point of the Hindu Sabha by catching you (Savarkar) while you are in a tour ……..” “……….Yesterday at Satara Barister Vithalrao Karandikar expressed such a desire to me and he also asked me to write and convey the same to you (Savarkar). He is prepared to meet his own expenses incurred during the journey…………..He has keen desire to spend fifteen days in your (Savarkar’s) association, and for that purpose he is going to meet the cost of the journey out of his own pocket. Therefore, I think that you (Savarkar) might give him your consent to join you in the tour …………..”.
The letter, dated 21st August 1942 written by Godse, marked G-38 (Exhibit P. 281) reads as follows :-
“………..It seems that the (meeting of the) Working Committee to be held on the 29th promises (in going) to be of great importance. ……….Similarly many other (non-members) people have also been called by you (Savarkar) to this meeting. So if there is no objection to my attending the same then I desire to attend if it is possible to be included amongst the men who are going with you”.
Godse’s letter dated 24th August 1942, marked G-39 (Exhibit P.282) reads :-
“The Delhi session is an important one, hence please see if I can be taken to Delhi as a member of the President’s (Savarkar’s) party.”
In letter marked G 43 (Exhibit P.284) Godse writes to the effect, “I would wish to go in advance of you, before you go to preside at Kanpur, to do Hindu propaganda ahead. Others are pressing you to send them. Thereby my name is likely to be dropped (by you). So please remember me and send to me to tour in United Provinces.”
In G-45 (Exhibit P.286) Godse writes to the effect, “Please note that when you (Savarkar) go to Delhi for Working Committee meeting I wish to go to Delhi with your party. I am willing to travel on the servant’s ticket even, with any second class one your party has”.
My Secretary wrote to Godse on another occasion thus :-
“Thanks for your desire to go to Delhi (with the President) But as it has been decided beforehand to take Mr. Bhagwat with us (Savarkar’s party) we do not propose to trouble you this time”. (See SG-5 Exhibit P. 299).
At times Godse joined my parties on tours as a press representative and published their vivid description in various papers. But other pressmen too did the same. Godse used to be only one of them.
(11) I submit that the above analysis of the so called documentary evidence produced by the Prosecution, proves it indisputably that Godse and Apte were only associated with me in so far as the Maha Sabha work was concerned. Not only that but amongst those thousands of men great and small, who were associated with me in Hindu Sanghatan cause Godse and Apte also were only two. That is all. They were neither specially chosen, nor exclusively trusted. The respect and reverence which they cherished towards me was also shown to me and expressed in similar terms by thousands of workers and leaders throughout India. There is not a word or a hint in those 25 letters which constitute the Godse – Apte correspondence, to suggest otherwise than that my association with them was strictly restricted to the Maha Sabha cause and its activities which had been highly patriotic and public, legitimate and legal. How absurd, unfair and unjust would be any effort on the part of the Prosecution in alleging this legitimate association as an evidence against me in connection with a criminal case will be dealt with later on in my statement.
(12) Badge’s evidence – (P.W. 57)
(A) The first incident in connection with his visit with Savarkar which Badge mentions is told on Page 199 of his deposition. “In 1944-45 after attending a meeting at Gawalia Tank, Bombay, some 30-40 persons went to see Savarkar at Savarkar Sadan”. ‘I was one of them’, continues Badge, “a private meeting was held there. Tatyarao addressed it. Then I was introduced to Tatyarao as the owner and proprietor of the “Shashtra Bhandar”. He complimented me and said that I was doing good work and asked me to continue it”.
Firstly, in this there is nothing incriminating me. Because Badge says that at that time (i.e. 1944-45) he was selling those weapons only which required no licence to sell them and could be legally possessed. (P.W. 57, pages 228, 229). Prosecution itself has produced two letters of Badge sent to Savarkarji and which go to prove conclusively that Badge was then dealing in arms which could be lawfully sold. He says in this very deposition before this Court, (P.W. 57, page 242) “I sent letters to Tatyarao as I wanted to send a report of Shashtra Bhandar to him. The report was correct. Till then i.e. year 1943, I had not seen a pistol. I was dealing in weapons not requiring licence till 1947. It was only only in the middle of 1947 that I first saw a revolver. I started dealing in ammunition (such as pistols, bomb etc.,) from the middle of 1947”. Badge says again on page 229 of his evidence that he was prosecuted for selling arms but was acquitted as he sold only those arms which required no licence.
Thus, even if the allegation of Badge be true that when he met me, I appreciated the fact that Badge was selling arms, there is nothing objectionable. Badge was then and later on till the middle of 1947 selling only licensed arms. The prosecution evidence itself as shown above proves it.
Secondly, the Hindu Mahasabha itself had ever been demanding the repeal of the Arms Act and publicly pressing for military training and the issue of licences to sell arms as it was done in England. I myself had led the movement as it was quite legitimate and legal.
(B) The second incident narrates on page 200 an informal meeting at Savarkar Sadan
which Badge alleges he attended. He says “it was held at the end of 1946 or at the which Badge alleges he attended. He says “it was held at the end of 1946 or at the beginning of 1947 before or after a Sammelan at the Chhabildas High School in Dadar. About 40 to 50 persons went to Savarkar Sadan. I was one of them. Savarkar addressed the informal gathering and said the policy of the Congress was detrimental to Hindus. Moslems should be boycotted economically and in case they attacked us the Hindus should be ready to retaliate and resist. Hindus should therefore learn to use weapons” (P.W.57, page 200).
Even supposing what Badge alleges was true, still the meeting could have no connection with this conspiracy case. I am alleged to have spoken on Hindu-Muslim question and to have said Hindus should resist if Moslems attacked. It is perfectly legitimate to ask others to exercise the right of self-defence and is even legal. Further, it is not alleged that I said that Hindus should attack the unoffending Moslems which might have been objectionable. On the whole this piece of Badge’s evidence does in no way incriminate me and has no connection with this particular conspiracy with which I stand charged.
But the fact is that no such meeting took place at my residence and no speech was made by me at all. This whole story told by Badge is altogether baseless.
(C) In the third incident related by Badge in his evidence (P.W.57 page 200) he says that
he was present in another informal meeting of Hindu Sabha workers in Savarkar Sadan in connection with the work done by Parmekar and Bakhale and a group photo including Savarkar, Dr. Moonje and others with Badge was taken. This is all. Badge himself tells further on in his cross-examination (Badge’s evidence page 250) that Badge knew that both Parmekar and Bakhale were doing Hindu refugee work Badge says again “Parmekar and Bakhale at that time used to look after the safety of the Hindu passengers during Hindu Moslem riots at Bombay” (Badge’s evidence page 229). So there was nothing objectionable in a meeting informally held in connection with their legitimate refugee work. Badge too does not say a word more regarding this meeting. This piece of his evidence is, therefore, altogether harmless and has no connection with this conspiracy case as a material fact.
(D) In the fourth incident eited by Badge in his deposition (page 203) he says, “Apte,
Godse and I proceeded to Savarkar Sadan. On reaching his house Apte took the bag from my hand and then Apte told me to wait outside. Apte and Godse went inside. They came back 5 or 10 minutes later. Apte had the bag with him, when he came out”. Then they brought a car and went to Dixitji Maharaj etc., etc. This was on 14thJanuary 1948 at about 9 p.m.
Firstly, herein Badge makes no mention anywhere of my name, so it only comes to this that Apte and Godse visited Savarkar Sadan for 5 to 10 minutes. But visiting Savarkar Sadan does not necessarily mean visiting Savarkar. Apte and Godse were well acquainted with Damle, Bhide and Kasar who were always found there on the ground-floor and Bhide and Damle resided there. These facts Badge himself has told in his evidence (page 223, 230 etc.) So Apte and Godse might have gone to see their friends and co-workers in Hindu Mahasabha cause who lived on the ground-floor, or to the phone or to see those other workers of the Hindu Mahasabha who sat reading in the Reading Room, and both of them went out within 5 or 10 minutes.
Badge clearly says that Apte had the bag with him when he came out. There is not a word said by Badge which can show that Apte went inside the house to keep the bag.
Further on Badge clearly admits that the bag was kept by them in Dixit Maharaj’s house that very night.
Secondly, it should be noted moreover that both Apte and Godse deny it and state they never went with Badge and the bag to Savarkar Sadan as alleged. Thirdly, there is no independent evidence produced by the Prosecution to corroborate this incident. Consequently, this whole story of ‘Badge and the bag’ cannot have an evidentiary value at all.
(E) The fifth incident narrated by Badge on page 205 of his deposition relates to a talk between Apte , Godse and Badge, on the 15th January 1948. Badge says, “Apte, Godse and myself came out of the house of Dixit Maharaj and stood in the compound of the temple. Apte asked me to go to Delhi with them. I asked what was the work there. Apte told me that Tatyarao had decided that Gandhiji, Nehru and Suhrawardy should be finished and had entrusted that work to them”.
First of all this is hearsay, for Badge had not heard it directly from Savarkar (Tatyarao), nor had he heard himself when Savarkar was telling Apte or anyone else to finish Gandhi, Nehru and Suhrawardy. It is Apte who tells Badge what Savarkar is alleged tohave told Apte.
Secondly, taking it for granted that Badge himself is telling truth when he says Apte told him this sentence, the question still remains whether what Apte told Badge is true or false. There is no evidence to show that I had ever told Apte to finish Gandhi, Nehru and Suhrawardy. Apte might have invented this wicked lie to exploit Savarkar’s moral influence on Hindu Sanghatanists for his own purposes. It is the case of the prosecution itself that Apte was used to resort to such unscrupulous tricks. For example; Apte is alleged to, have given false names and false addresses to hotel keepers and others and collected arms and ammunition secretly which were not allowed by the law to be sold or possessed without licences.
Thirdly, both Apte and Godse deny emphatically the allegations that they had ever told
Badge any such lies regarding me and that in order to save his skin and secure pardon as an approver Badge had told these lies to incriminate me under Police pressure or to solicit their pleasure as he knew that the Police were extremely anxious and desperately trying to get some evidence true or false to implicate me in this case.
Fourthly, from the Prosecution point of view this part of Badge evidence is the only material part so far as I am concerned. But an approver’s statements are not to be taken as reliable unless and until they are corroborated, in material particulars by independent and good evidence. But this very part of Badge’s evidence against me is not at all corroborated any other independent and reliable evidence which the Prosecution could produce.
(F) The sixth incident as alleged by Badge took place on the 17th January 1948. He says in his deposition on page 207 thus, “Godse, Apte and myself (Badge) and Shankar took a taxi and drove. Godse said, let us have the last ‘Darshan’ of Tatyarao. We drove to Savarkar Sadan. Shankar was asked to wait outside the compound. We three entered Savarkar’s house, Apte asked me (Badge) to wait in the room on the ground floor. Godse and Apte then went unstairs. They came down after 5 to 10 minutes. Godse and Apte, as they came upstairs were followed by Tatyarao immediately. Tatyarao said, “Be successful and come back” (YASHASVI HOUN YA). Tatyarao said these words to Apte and Godse. We four then got into the taxi leaving Savarkar’s house and proceeded towards Ruia College. Apte told me in the taxi that Tatyarao had said that Gandhiji’s hundred years were over. Apte further said that there was no doubt that our work would be successfully finished”. They then proceeded to the house of Afzulpurkar etc.etc.
Firstly, I submit in this respect that Apte and Godse did not see me on 17th January 1948 or on any other day near about and I did not say to them “Be successful and come back” and I had never predicted that Gandhiji’s hundred years were over, to Apte or to any one else.
Secondly, assuming that what Badge says about the visit is true, still as he clearly admits that he sat in the room on the ground floor of my house and Apte and Godse alone went upstairs, he could not have known for certain whether they could or did see me at all or returned after meeting someone of the family of the tenant who also resided on the first floor of the house. Taking again for granted that Apte and Godse did see me and had a talk with me, still it was impossible for Badge to have any personal and direct knowledge of what talk they had with me for the simple reason that he could not have either seen or heard anything happening upstairs on the first floor from the room in which he admits he was sitting on the ground-floor. It would be absurd to take it as a self-evident truth that simply because Apte and Godse went upstairs alone, they must have talked with me about some criminal conspiracy only. Nay, it is far more likely that they could have talked about anything else but the alleged conspiracy.
Especially so because the prosecution evidence itself proves that on that day Badge, Apte and Godse drove by that very car to a number of persons all over Bombay from one and to the other for quite different objects and had talked on quite different works other than the conspiracy to kill Gandhiji. For example; they went to Afzulpurkar and talked regarding Nizam Civil Resistance movement, and got money as the prosecution witness Afzulpurkar has deposed. They went to the owner of the dyeing works Seth Charandas Meghaji whom Apte met alone and yet spoke with him about the Nizam State only and got money, for Nizam State Resistance (see evidence of prosecution witness Seth Charandas Meghaji). They went in between to Kurla and saw Patwardhan, Patankar, Kale, etc.etc. (see P.W. 86,page 418), talked with them and got money in connection with the ‘Daily Agrani’ and “Hindu Rashtra Prakashan” and so on. It is thus far more likely that Apte and Godse might have met Savarkar, if they met him at all and talked to him upstairs about Hyderabad, Civil Resistance or the ‘Daily Agrani’ or any other Hindu Sabha work or only enquired about his health and returned. They had talked with all others that whole day long regarding these topics alone and nothing about any conspiracy as is proved by the Prosecution evidence itself.
Thirdly, the same reason disproves Badge’s allegation wherein he says, “Within 5 or 10 minutes only Apte and Godse returned downstairs. They were immediately followed by Savarkar. Savarkar said to Godse and Apte “be successful and come back”. Even if it is assumed that I said this sentence it might have referred to any objects and works referred to above such as the Nizam Civil Resistance, the raising of funds for the daily paper, ‘Agrani’, or the sale of the shares of Hindu Rashtra Prakashan Ltd., Company in which I was financially interested or any other legitimate undertaking. As Badge knew nothing as to what talk Apte and Godse had with me upstairs, he could not assert as to what subject my remark “Be successful etc.” referred.
Fourthly, the sentence which Badge alleges that Apte told him while driving to other house after leaving my house to the effect that I told Apte that “Gandhiji’s hundred years were over”, - is a hearsay and no evidence against us. For, Apte told Badge what I was alleged to have told Apte. Badge did not hear me personally saying this sentence to Apte. Apte might have told a lie that I said so to Apte. There is nothing to prove and corroborate that I really said so to Apte.
So, whether Badge has lied or Godse and Apte have lied to exploit the moral influence which my name exercised on people to further their alleged criminal conspiracy, in either case it cannot incriminate me in the absence of any independent direct and material proof to connect me with the criminal knowledge of or participation in that conspiracy.
Fifthly, and above all, both Godse and Apte positively deny that they ever spoke these sentences to Badge. Apte and Godse moreover deny this whole incident which Badge alleges to have taken place on the 17th January 1948 and state that they never drove with Badge or others on that day to Savarkar Sadan and never visited Savarkar himself. This contradiction on Apte and Godse’s part of the whole story as told by Badge, cuts the very ground from under Badge’s allegations.
Sixthly, Badge alleges that on the occasion of this above visit to Savarkar Sadan he with Apte and Godse had hired the taxi belonging to Kotian as a driver. This taxi driver Kotian (P.W.80) says in his deposition (on page 391 and 392), “At Shivaji Park I stopped with the taxi. The four passengers got down. So far as I could see they went upto the second house from the corner of the road on my right. They came back to the taxi in about five minutes time”. Now if this taxi driver was brought to corroborate Badge’s story, then so far as this incident relating to me is concerned he fails to do it. The taxi-driver does not exactly locate my house; he does not know its name; he does not say a word as to whom his passengers wanted to visit in the house; he does not positively mention that it was precisely the second house but only vaguely says that “As far as I could see from the distance at which I stopped it was the second house up the road on my right hand”. He only says he saw them going only up to the house. He does not say that he saw them entering the house. Thus, his evidence fails to corroborate Badge’s allegations regarding his visit to my house, and other details. On the contrary, instead of corroborating Badge, Kotian’s evidence serves only to contradict him materially. For, Kotian says (page 392) that they came back to the taxi in about five minutes. Kotian says further in his cross-examination that as a taxi driver he had to be very particular about timing. So his timing could be relied upon. But, for Badge’s story to be true they could not have returned back to the taxi earlier than at least 20-25 minutes time. To go from the square where Kotian says : “He stopped with his taxi up the house and through its yard to the room inside must take at least ten minutes”. After that Badge says Godse and Apte went up stairs and took five to ten minutes before they came down stairs, and then they returned to the taxi. So they could not have came back to the taxi within less than twenty to twenty-five minutes. This contradiction between the taxi-driver’s evidence and Badge’s story does show that the latter is unreliable or, as it is more likely, both deserve to be rejected as evidence against me at any rate. (See the note on the left side page (24-A) as regards Shankar’s contradiction on Badge’s allegation on this point).
It should be specially noted that Shankar too contradicts Badge regarding this incident. To the question asked by the Court regarding Badge’s allegation that Shankar too got down from the taxi and accompanied them (Badge, Apte and Godse) to Savarkar Sadan but was asked to wait outside the house while they three entered the house, Shankar replied, “I went with them in the taxi to ‘Shivaji-Park’. There the taxi stopped. Badge, Apte and Godse got down and went somewhere. But I stayed in the taxi and did not go with them. I did not know where they went. I had not even heard of Savarkar Sadan”. To the second question put to him by the Court, if it was true that Apte told Badge that Tatyarao told Apte, “Gandhiji’s hundred years were numbered, etc. etc.”. Shankar replied. “They were talking among themselves in Marathi and English but I was sitting on the front seat in the taxi by the driver and as I did not know either Marathi or English I could neither hear nor understand what they talked”.
To sum up, Badge’s allegation, that he with Apte, Nathuram and Shankar drove in the taxi belonging to Kotian the drivr and visited the Savarkar Sadan on 17thJanuary 1948 is corroborated by none and contradicted by everyone of these very persons.
(13) In his deposition at page 220 Badge says that he decided to join Apte and Godse
going to Delhi to finish Gandhiji and others because Godse and Apte had helped him several times monetarily; that he had always worked with them and done as told by them; and as Apte had given him to understand that Tatyarao Savarkar had given orders to carry out the mission Badge thought it was his duty to carry out the command.
In this behalf I submit :-
Firstly, there is not an iota of independent proof to show that I ever told Apte any such criminal work. Apte might have invented this lie or Badge was telling a lie. In either case this allegation of Badge cannot incriminate me for reasons already enumerated above.
Secondly, if Badge had really decided to join, the conspiracy on 15th January 1948 as alleged, then a man like Badge, who from his own evidence does not at all seem in any way reckless of his life or personal safety nor to be a simpleton, must have in the ordinary course of human conduct and nature, asked me in person if I had really given such an order to Apte. Especially so as Badge himself says that he went with Apte and Godse to Savarkar Sadan only two days later on 17th January 1948, and maintains that I said within the hearing of Badge the words as alleged, “Be successful and come back”. Badge could have immediately asked me, confronting Apte and Godse there and then, and got himself assured if such a dangerous order was really given by me to carry out which the very life of Badge had to be risked. But Badge did nothing of the sort.
Thirdly, if Badge had really any such extraordinary and reckless reverence for my alleged order as to make him risk his very life and straightway start for Delhi on such a dangerous mission, how was it that he precipitately ran away without fulfilling his promise to attack Gandhiji from the front, why he concealed himself and fled away and as he admits had thenceforth “the only thought of saving himself ?”
Fourthly, if Badge went to Delhi at all he might have gone for monetary considerations; or because he expected a large demand for and sale of the “stuff” in which he dealt among the refugees in Delhi and the Punjab or for any other reason save and except the alleged “order”.
(14) Badge’s motive and character – The detailed analysis of Badge’s evidence as given above in so far as it relates to me, proves that it consists mostly of fabrications and of the rest which has no evidentiary value against me. Badge’s motive in giving false evidence against me is clear. He saw that the police were working frantically on the basis of some shadowy suspicions they had to rope me in this case by hook or crook. Badge must have realized that the Police might be hoping that if but they could implicate some outstanding public leading figure in this case, they could bank on sensational publicity and self-advertisement for themselves throughout the country, which otherwise was not likely to happen. In the depressing and harassing circumstances which he himself was labouring under, as an accused on such serious charges, a man like Badge must have felt that the only way to save his skin was to turn an approver and to render himself acceptable to the Police as an indispensable approver, the only implied condition was to bear false evidence against me. He fulfilled the condition and saved his skin. That Badge was both too shrewd and unscrupulous is borne out by his character which none else but himself made out throughout the evidence he has given before the Court. Out of the several statements made in his deposition wherein he admits, even boastfully at times, that he spoke lies, made false pretensions and risked others lives to save his own skin, only a few incidents from his evidence are cited below :-
(a) Badge says, ‘It is true that I was selling bombs grenades, explosives, etc., surreptitiously and without licence and against the law (Badge’s deposition page 228)
(b) ‘I concealed the ammunition bag in Kharat’s house because my sole aim was that they should not be found with me as I feared my arrest (same page).
(c) ‘I placed the bag with the two revolvers in the taxi without the knowledge of the taxi-driver because if the revolvers were by chance found in search it would be the taxi-wala who would have been in trouble and arrested and I would have been saved’ (page 240).
(d) Badge assumed the false name as Bandopant (page215).
(e) Badge traveled without tickets and bribed ticket collectors (Badge’s deposition, page 237).
(f) He openly admits that he made false representations to secure money. He says, “ I was in need of money and wanted Dixit Maharaj to pay me at least the sum of Rs. 350 by buying a revolver from me. So, I had falsely represented to him that I had purchased that revolver though I had got it in exchange etc., etc.”.(page 236).
It is, therefore, no wonder that an approver like Badge, who is so unscrupulous on his
own admission as quoted above, should have told such falsehoods against me too in order
to save his skin and secure pardon.
(15) I have dealt above with that part of Badge’s evidence which is connected directly
with me. I have shown that inasmuch as as there is not an iota of independent evidence to prove that I had ever decided to finish Gandhiji, Neharu or Suhrawardy or had given any such wicked order to Apte – the whole story of the approver Badge must he rejected, in so far at any rate as it seeks to incriminate me.
But further on it must now be emphasized that even if some part of Badge’s evidence which refers to matters unconnected with me is perchance found by the Court corroborated in some particulars, still that fact cannot by itself be held to corroborate the approver’s evidence against me, so long as it fails to establish my individual connection with or participation in the alleged conspiracy. To elucidate this point I cannot do better than citing below a passage or two from Sarkar’s Evidence Act, 7thEdition, under Section 133 :-
“Not only it is necessary that evidence should be corroborated in material particulars, but
the corroboration should extend to the identity of the accused person. The accomplice must be corroborated not only as to one but as to all of the persons affected by the evidence and because he may be corroborated in his evidence as to one prisoner, it does not justify his evidence against another being acceptable without corroboration (page 1253)
“It is an established rule of practice that an accomplice must be corroborated by
independent evidence as to the identity of every person whom he impeaches. The accomplice may know every circumstance of the crime, and while relating all the other facts truly, may, in order to save a friend or gratify an animosity (or to save his skin) name some person as one of the criminals who was innocent of the crime (page 1254)
(16) Badge’s three letters –
The Prosecution has produced three letters, Exhibits P. 87, P.88 and P. 89.’ The first two
letters out of these were sent by Badge to me in 1943 to request me to send some donation in aid of his Shashtra Bhandar, where he used to sell arms for which no licence was required. Badge has admitted again and again in his deposition that he was a Hindu Mahasabha Worker and that in the year 1947 he was dealing in those arms only which could be sold without license (P.W. 57, pages 218, 229, 242). As I was openly leading a movement for the repeal of the Arms Act, the issue of license to sell arms, and the spread of military training, several such letters and reports came to me as the President of the Hindu Mahasabha, asking for aid.
The third letter is a receipt sent by Badge to Mr. V.G. Damle, my Secretary, who sent as a free gift to the reading room Badge conducted, some books on Hindu Sanghatan and Hindu religion, such as the poems by Saint Tukaram which name is mentioned in the receipt itself. My office used to send books in connection with Hindu movement worth hundreds of rupees a year as a free-gift to Hindu Sabha reading rooms and libraries all over India. The files of my office which the Prosecution possesses now, contain numerous such receipts, and bear out this fact. I submit that these exhibits have no reference at all to the present case and contain nothing incriminating.
(!7) Evidence of Miss Modak – P.W. 60 :-
There are only two or three sentences in the testimony of this witness which seem to concern my case. The witness says on page 277 of her evidence that on 14thJanuary 1948, while in the train, she gathered from their talk that Apte and Godse wished to go to Savarkar Sadan near the Shivaji Park.
It is to be noted that this witness does nowhere say that Godse and Apte wished to go to see me personally. It must also be noted that going to Savarkar Sadan could not necessarily mean going to see Savarkar. A glance at the description of Savarkar Sadan given above on the basis of the Prosecution evidence itself, will show that Apte and Godse might have wished to go to that house to visit the several tenants who resided there and who were acquainted with them, or the Hindu Sabha workers who used to gather in the Hindu Sanghatan Office situated on the ground-floor and was in charge of my Secretary who were their friends. People who used to visit that office did not as a rule come necessarily to see me, as I used to reside on the first floor. The
Prosecution witness Badge himself admits this and says in his evidence (page 222) that although he visited this office in Savarkar Sadan several times, he met me only once.
The witness says further on page 278 of her deposition that when she stopped her car opposite Savarkar Sadan, Apte and Godse got down. She continues : “but I did not see them actually entering the Savarkar Sadan”.
This testimony, therefore, has absolutely no relevance or determinative value in so far as I am concerned.
I submit that I for myself did not see or hear of the coming to my house of both Apte and Godse or either of them, nor had I seen them together or singly on that day or on days there about.
(18) Dr. J.C. Jain (P.W. 67) :-
The only part in which Dr. Jain refers to me directly and definitely in his deposition is found on pages 299-300 where Jain says : “Madanlal told me that Veer Savarkar of the Hindu Mahasabha, when he heard of his (Madan Lal’s) exploits at Ahmednagar, had sent for him, and had had a long talk with him for about two hours. He then told me that Veer Savarkar had patted him on his back and had said, “carry on”. That is all.
With reference to this story alleged to be told by Madan Lal to Dr. Jain my submission is as hereunder :-
Firstly, I never had heard of Madan Lal nor did he ever come to me, nor had he ever related his exploits to me. I did not have a talk with him at any time, I did not pat him on his back for his exploits and did not say, “carry on”.
Secondly, assuming that Madan Lal told Jain the above story of his visit to me, it must be noted that Jain himself has narrated what, he meant by “Madan Lal’s exploits” at Ahmednagar, on page 299 of his evidence wherein he says “Madan Lal then narrated to me his exploits at Ahmednagar” and then tells that Madan Lal created a row in Patwardhan’s meeting and attacked him; he had organized a volunteer corps for the benefit of the refugees and the Hindus; he had formed a paty at Nagar which was collecting arms and dumping them and that they had driven Moslem fruit stall-holders. These are in the main referred to, by Jain himself as exploits at Ahmednagar, and just after that Jain mentions that Madan Lal said that he visited Veer Savarkar and told the latter his exploits at Ahmednagar. Thus it is clear, if the the sequence is closely followed that it is only these or some of these ‘exploits’ which are alleged to have been told to me. It is only after telling this Madan Lal’s visit to me that Jain proceeds to the latter half of his story and tells on page 300 this : “Madan Lal then told me that his party has plotted against the life of some leader” and that Madan Lal at last gave out the name of Gandhiji as the leader referred to. It becomes clear by following this sequence of the story that this plot against Gandhiji’s life was quite a separate matter from and was not included in, the former category of the incidents styled by Jain as ‘Madan Lal’s Exploits at Ahmednagar’. Consequently, it follows that as Madan Lal is alleged to have told me only his exploits at Ahmednagar, he did not tell me anything of the said plot of his party against Gandhiji’s life. Moreover and apart from this inference, the most important point to be noted here is the fact that throughout his evidence Dr. Jain has not uttered a single positive word to support any suggestion that Madan Lal told me of the plot against the life of Gandhiji or that I had any the slightest connection or knowledge of any such party at all. On the other hand, Jain clearly admitted that he did not know from Madan Lal the names of his party members, nor other details and knew himself next to nothing about it. (P.W. 67, pages 306 and 308).
I submit therefore that this narration of Madan Lal’s visit to me even as it stands is of no evidentiary value against me as it fails to connect me individually in any way whatsoever with this alleged conspiracy.
Thirdly, it is to be particularly noted that at no stage had either Dr. Jain or Mr. Angad Singh or the Hon’ble Mr. Desai reduced to writing Madan Lal’s story or even made notes of the same.
No wonder, therefore if the versions of this story given particularly by Dr. Jain, relying exclusively on memory, slippery as an eel as human memory proverbially is, differ from each other. Especially the present version that part of it, which refers to Madan Lal’s visit to me, and which is the only part that concerns me, seems clearly ‘cooked up to order’ – under the pressure of the police, for the reasons noted below :-
Fourthly, the above objection raised by me against the verasity of Dr. Jain’s version of Madan Lal’s story regarding me is indubitably borne out by the fact that Dr. Jain had made no mention of it whatsoever in his statement made before the Magistrate. In law a statement made under Section 164 Cr. P. C. carries greater probative force and value than one under Section 161 of Cr. P. C. But in his statement on solemn affirmation before the C. P. Magistrate, Bombay, when the exclusion of the police from the Court freed the conscience of Dr. Jain from their suffocating pressure for a while, Dr. Jain did not tell the present concocted story about Madan Lal’s visit to me. It is not that he told it and the Magistrate failed to take it down, but Dr. Jain himself did not tell it to him. He states clearly in his evidence at page 303 when crossed : “I also did not state before Magistrate the Madan Lal had told me that Veer Savarkar had sent for him, had had a long talk with him for two hours, had patted him on his back and had said “carry on”. Even his statement before the police makes no mention about “carry on”. In his re-examination before this Court, Dr. Jain tried to disentangle the Prosecution out of this fix and succeeded only in getting it entangled all the more by replying that he did not tell the Magistrate the story of Madanlal’s visit to me because he had already told it to the Police and the Hon’ble Home Member (Jain’s deoisition, page 311). But this reply is absurd, for, all other leading details of Madanlal’s story which Jain had told the Police and the Minister, he repeated in his statement before the Magistrate down to the books and the crackers he sold. And yet he did not tell the Magistrate Madanlal’s alleged visit to me which the Prosecution seeks now to make the very starting point of the case against me. The real reason of this must be that Dr. Jain was not till then hardened and prepared to pass on such fabricated stories as true ones on solemn affirmation before the Magistrate.
Fifthly,if Dr. Jain was really told of such a murderous plot by Madanlal how was it that he did not inform the authorities immediately to frustrate it ? Dr. Jain admits that he knew that as a citizen it was his duty to help the authorities in unearthing a criminal conspiracy in time (Dr. Jain’s deposition at page 303). The Home Minister also challenged him later on as to why he did not give the information beforehand. Jain’s only reply was that he did not take Madanlal’s story about the plot seriously (page 309). But that this excuse was altogether false is proved by Jain’s own admission that he did take it seriously as to try to tell Jai Prakash “of a lively big conspiracy at Delhi” with a view that the latter might warn the authorities at Delhi (Jain’s deposition at page 301). If the story was thought so serious as to warn the Government at Delhi, it was surely serious enough to inform the Government of Bombay. Dr. Jain puts forth another excuse that he was afraid to give that information to the Bombay Police (page 3(8), but he was surely not afraid of the Prime Minister of Bombay, whom he did contact without any hesitation after the bomb-explosion had taken place. All this confusion and self-contradiction which characterize the evidence, leads only to the irresistible conclusion that Dr. Jain never heard any such story from Madan Lal as is narrated by him now and that it was concocted later on.
Sixthly, the motive too which must have impelled Dr. Jain and Mr. Angad Singh also to concoct this whole story after the bomb-explosion, becomes self evident as soon as one reads their depositions between the lines. Dr. Jain was admittedly on intimate terms with Madan Lal. He was receiving letters from and for Madan Lal, some were found in his possession later on. Many people had known Madan Lal’s connection with Dr. Jain as Madan Lal has visited several persons in order to sell his books. Consequently, as soon as Dr. Jain read in the ‘Times of India’ on the 21st if January 1948, that a bomb had been exploded at Gandhiji’s prayer meeting and that the name of the man arrested for the offence was Madan Lal, he was naturally startled and feared that he too might get into trouble. Dr. Jain admits that he read the name of Madan Lal in the ‘Times of India’ before he came forward to contact the authorities (Jain’s deposition at page 301). Dr. Jain and Mr. Angad Singh seem to have decided to be forearmed against the certainty of Madan Lal’s giving out their intimate connection with him and against the consequent risk. And what way was better to be forearmed then to pose as brave citizens who offered to help the authorities by furnishing some information true or false about the crime ? Some morning papers of that day had already hinted of a plot at the bottom of the bomb explosion. Dr. Jain took that hint as the basis of his story. He knew that Madan Lal was working amongst the refugees and was Hindu-minded and I was known to the public as a recognized leader of the Hindu Sanghatanists. If but my name was fitted in the story in connection with Madan Lal and the plot, it was bound to prove a capital stunt attractive both to the police and the public, for providing which, Jain was sure to be forgiven for his failure to inform the authorities of the plot beforehand. So, Dr. Jain hastened to the Home Member and gave him the first version of his concocted story. The contradictions and confusion in the evidence of Dr. Jain make the above origin of this ‘story’ more highly probable than otherwise.
Seventhly, Madan Lal has made a statement before this Court in which he has denied that there was any conspiracy to do any harm to Mahatma Gandhi and has also stated that he had never been involved in any such conspiracy. This renders Dr. Jain’s story all the more untenable.
Eightly, but even if it is assumed that what Dr. Jain says, in so far as it relates to me, is accurate and it is true that Madan Lal told Jain regarding his alleged visit to me, still that by itself cannot prove that what Madan Lal told Jain was in itself true. Both Jain and Angad Singh regarded Madan Lal as, to quote their own words, a tall-talking young man given to parade his exploits which did not deserve to be taken seriously. It is but natural to assume that such a youth would try to impress his self-importance on the mind of Dr. Jain by telling one more fancied exploit to the effect that even Veer Savarkar of the Hindu Mahasabha had sent for him and had patted him on his back. It is admitted that Dr. Jain was not present when Madan Lal visited me, nor had he heard personally the alleged conversation between Madan Lal and myself. Thus, it all comes to this that Madan Lal told Dr. Jain what I was alleged to have told Madan Lal. So it was pure hearsay to Jain and he could not have vouchsafed its veracity. Nor has the Prosecution produced any independent evidence to corroborate Madan Lal’s story in connection with his alleged visit to me. I submit, therefore, that at least that part of the evidence of Dr. Jain which refers to Madan Lal’s visit to me and the alleged conversation between us is hearsay, is vague, is uncorroborated, and on these among other grounds it is inadmissible in law, and even though recorded should be expunged out of consideration by the Court. I beg to re assert that whosoever might be the author of the story of Madan Lal’s visit to me, it is altogether false. I had never heard of Madan Lal nor had I ever met him.
(19) Evidence of both Mr. Angad Singh and the Hon’ble Mr. Desai, Home Minister (P.W.72 and 78) :-
Regarding this evidence my submission is that :
Firstly, it being a hearsay and at that a third rate hearsay, it is not admissible as
evidence in law. It comes to this that the Court hears a story from the witnesses, which they heard from Dr. Jain, who heard it form Madan Lal whose alleged version stands altogether uncorroborated and which Madan Lal himelf denies to have told to anyone at all, and says that it is in itself false.
Secondly, if the testimony of these two witnesses is only meant to prove that such a
story, true or false, was really told to Dr. Jain by Madan Lal, I submit that even
this cannot be proved only by Jain’s telling it to a number of persons. For, Jain clearly says that he was left alone when Madan Lal told it to him (Jain’s deposition at page 299) and there is nothing else to prove whether the story was told to Jain by Madan Lal at all. Jain might have told it to a number of persons even if Madan Lal had told nothing to him at all.
Thirdly, that such a testimony is inadmissible under section 157 I. E. A. itself, will be
Clear by the following small extract taken from (Sarkar’s Evidence Act, 7th
Edition at page 1374) which runs thus.- “It would be easy to manufacture evidence by telling your various friends and then calling upon them as witnesses to prove what you told him. This section does not make hearsay evidence admissible as corroboration.”
Fourthly, there is another reason why this testimony of both these witnesses is not
covered by Section 157, and it is that it does not fulfill the conditions laid down therein.
Fifthly, the testimony of Mr. Angad Singh illustrates most effectively how a story gets often perverted as it passes from mouth to mouth and how dangerous therefore it
is in justice to rely on such hearsay evidence, especially when no written note is made of it by story-tellers as Mr. Angad Singh admits not to have made (Angad Singh deposition at page 334). For example, Angad Singh says (on pages 332 and 333 of testimony) that “Jain said that Madanlal had told him (Jain) that Br. Savarkar was behind his party and that as according to Madanlal Br. Savarkar was behind the plot, it might come out true.” Now, throughout his evidence Dr. Jain has nowhere said a word to the effect that Madan Lal told him that Br. Savarkar was behind his party or the plot, nor has Dr. Jain said that he repeated the story to Mr. Angad Singh in such a perverted form. Not only that, but to harm me, Mr. Angad Singh has distorted even the sequence of the story as repeated by Jain in his evidence. Angad Singh testimony is thus not only a hearsay but a malicious hearsay.
Sixthly, so far as the testimony of the Hon’ble Minister is concerned the first point to be
noted is that it should be read with caution as it comes at a great distance of time form 21st January 1948 and the Minister admits that he had made no written notes of the story at any time (P.W. 78, page 38). Further, as he has only related what Dr. Jain told him, his evidence too like that of Mr. Angad Singh carries no substantive value at all. It also suffers from some of the objections taken above in respect of the testimony of Jain and Mr. Angad Singh.
I submit once again that Madan Lal never met me nor had I any conversation with him at any time whatsoever, and I respectfully request the Court that for reasons given in paragraphs 18 and 19 above, the testimony of Dr. Jain, Mr. Angad Singh and the Hon’ble Mr. Morarji Desai be excluded out of consideration in so far, at any rate, as the determination of my guilt or innocence is concerned.
(20) The trunk-call – The Prosecution has examined in all five witnesses, namely P.W. 23, P.W.40, P.W.41, P.W.42 and P.W.93, in regard to a telephone call (P 70), booked at Delhi 8024 to Bombay 60201 on the 9th January 1948, at 9.20 a.m. After all this waste of time and energy what has the Prosecution proved in the end ? Only this, that a trunk-call was booked by a person (nobody knows as to who he was) to Damle or Kasar (which is also uncertain) and it was taken as an ineffective call, as neither Damle nor Kasar was available. Nay, even the contents of the trunk-call are admittedly unknown to the Prosecution itself. P.70 and P.59 should be read together as they materially differ from each other. It is already in evidence that Savarkar Sadan has a telephone located in the reading room hall on the ground floor and as such is available to all the tenants residing in that house, Secretaries and Hindu Sabha workers who used to visit the Hindu Sanghatan Office situtated there. (See P.W. 57, pages 24 and 25 as well as P.W. 130, page 7), Numerous turnk-calls from the Hindu Sabha Bhawan at Delhi used to come to this Hindu Sanghatan Office in my house regarding Mahasabha work.
Again this trunl-call was booked as a personal call for Damle or Kasar, and not as my official Secretaries. Any one of the friends of Mr. Damle or Kasar at Delhimight have booked the call for any legitimate purpose. And above all, my name is admittedly connected nowhere at both ends of the telephone. And yet the Prosecution has examined five witnesses in all seriousness to prove this trunl-call against whom no one knows, and has succeeded only in proving that nothing could be proved at all.
(21) The Hindu Rashtra Dal :- There were several Hindu Volunteer Organizations to carry out the day to day programmes of the Hindu Sanghatan Movement and worked separately in their different spheres. The Hindu Rashtra Dal was one of them. It was organized by Godse, Apte and other workers. Badge, who was one of its members (Page 232) tells in his deposition (Page 245) that the objects of the Dal were to help Mahasabha candidates in elections, doing propaganda work and keeping order and maintaining discipline. In spite of their pressing requests I did not identify myself with it as its leader or even as a member, for the simple reason that as the president of the Mahasabha I used to only sympathise with any such subsidiary body only in common with all other Hindu Sanghatan organizations and corps. It conducted itself as an open and public association. I could not attend even its yearly camps which at times displeased them much. In common with other Hindu Volunteer corps I wished it well. That is all.
(22) Nothing incriminating found in my possession :- It should be specifically noted that no unlicenced explosives or arms or any incriminating documentary evidence or material evidence were ever found to be in my possession or power.
(23) Mere Association no proof of Conspiracy :- At the very opening of this case the Prosecution alleged emphatically that it had in its possession an over-whelming documentary evidence which would prove that the accused and especially Godse and Apte had an association with me of such a nature and that they had been so unquestionably loyal to me as their Guide and Guru, that they could not have conspired and acted in the way they did without consulting me and but for my sanction the act.(i.e. committing the murder) would not have been done at all.
Now that the documentary evidence has come to light it has become possible for me too, to assert as emphatically as the Prosecution did that the above allegation was entirely unfounded, unjustifiable and was meant only to prejudice the Court against me. The following reasons bear me out :-
Consequently, this fact that out of 10,000 letters which the Prosecution had in its possession as
my correspondence running over a period of some ten years, not a single word or a
line has been found, even after the closest possible scrutiny, to incriminate me, is in itself so significant a fact that it constitutes other things equal an overwhelming proof to establish my innocence. At any rate, it explodes altogether the prosecution’s allegation that the documentary evidence it had in its possession would inevitably lead to prove my complicity with Godse and Apte in this alleged conspiracy.
there was only one letter received by me from Apte and only three letters from Godse. These letters were of the same unobjectionable type and that after 30thOctober 1946 there had been no letter sent by Godse to me throughout the years 1947 and 1948 (P.W. 129, page 4).
During this period there was no letter from Apte as well sent to me no letter sent by me to Godse and Apte either singly or jointly. That means the documentary evidence proves that there was no correspondence whatsoever between us in the years of 1947 or 1948.
About Karkare Mr. Pradhan (P.W.129, page 3) says himself in his evidence, - “In none of those 143 files so examined be me I found any letter written by Karkare to Savarkar nor I found any letter written by Savarkar to Karkare”.
Godse in particular with me from the end of 1946 right up to the date of my arrest in
February 1948. This fact also corroborates my above plea that the association with
me which the prosecution tries to prove by Apte-Godse correspondence in particular
was restricted to the legitimate and public activities of the Mahasabha. That is why
after I resigned the presidentship of the Mahasabha in 1946 owing to ill health and
susupended almost all my public activities. Apte and Godse like all other Hindu
Sabha workers ceased naturally to send their reports to me about their Hindu
Sanghatan work or write to me about my propagandist tours or directions regarding
public matters. This explains the sudden cessation of all their correspondence during
the afore mentioned years.
For all these reasons I submit that such a legitimate and legal association as this
correspondence indicates and which ceased more than a year before this alleged conspiracy could not be held to incriminate me in any manner whatsoever, nor could it be suspected to lead to any criminal and conspiring association. There is an unbridgeable gulf between a legitimate association and a criminal and conspiring one. This principle has been held up again and again in leading cases. For example, I may refer to the following extract from Sarkar’s Evidence Act, (See 10, page 98) which lays down: “The evidence of an accused’s association with any of the conspirators would not be enough by itself to convict him of being one of the parties to that conspiracy.”
(24) From the above section, this also will be clear that it was absurd on the part of the Prosecution to assert dogmatically that Godse and Apte must have consulted me beforehand regarding this conspiracy and that but for my sanction the crime would not have been committed at all, simply because they in their correspondence with me have expressed their loyalty to me and to the Hindu ideology I represented in terms of respect and reverence.
Many criminals cherish high respect and loyalty to the Gurus and guides of their religious sects and profess to follow their tenets. But could evr the complicity of the Guru or guide in the crimes those of his followers be inferred and held proved only on the ground of the professions of loyalty and respect to their Gurus of those criminals? Numerous persons accused of crime have a close association with and cherish reverence for their parents, brothers and relations and subscribe obedience in their letters to them. But are those relatives ever held as accomplices in law with the accused only on the strength of an interference that the accused who were so obedient to them must have consulted them in committing the crime too? Or, are political leaders alone to be held as hostages in the hands of the police and accountable for the crime of any one of their numerous followers who happened to respect and revere them sometime or some way? Does it not often happen that some of the followers do actually try to exploit the moral influence of the leaders to further their activities which the leader had never sanctioned? in 1942 in the “Quit India” movement some leading workers who had been close associates of Gandhiji as Congressmen and respected him, resorted to underground violence. I am not concerned here with the question whether such an underground movement against a foreign domination was or was not justified. It is enough to say that Mahatma Gandhi condemned all underground violence. But masses resorted under the lead of those workers to arson, sabotage and blood-shed shouting all the while “Mahatma Gandhi ki jai”. But even the British Government did not put Gandhiji in the dock for their crime simply because the masses respected him and were doing those very criminal acts shouting “Gandhiji ki jai”, and therefore they must have had consulted him ! In this very case, the Prosecution has examined some Gurus and guides as witnesses who told on oath that they had supplied incriminating and dangerous explosives to some of these accused and actually incited them to murderous crimes such as to take the life of Jinnah and Liaqat Ali who were till then Indian citizens during the very period of December –January last when this conspiracy is alleged to have been hatched. Nevertheless even such admittedly criminal association could not persuade the Prosecution to infer that the accused must have consulted these witnesses in this conspiracy to and that the latte also must be held as incriminated in this crime. I do not say that they should have been incriminated. But I do say that it is absurd and highly unfair that the same Prosecution should infer, nay, assert dogmatically that even the legitimate correspondence and association which Apte and Godse had with me years ago warrants the inference that they must have consulted me in this conspiracy and therefore I should be held as incriminated in it. I do not attribute motives. But the Prosecution evidence itself of the above nature, based only on “must have been” and “would nor have been” type of surmises, makes it abundantly clear that more hopeless the Prosecution grew in finding substantive and direct evidence to prove their case against me, the more helplessly and recklessly they fell back on absurd inferences and innuendoes for support to save their prestige which, rightly or wrongly, they felt was at stake.
(25) The whole fabric of the Prosecution evidence rests on two sentences only : The first an hearsay : the second an inference :-
Now that whatever evidence material or circumstantial, oral or documentary, which the Prosecution has brought against me, has been dealt with in detail in the above part of my statement, I am in a position to submit that the only part of it which aims to trace definitely my individual connection with the conspiracy, is comprised of two sentences only ! Both of them are allegations made by Badge.
In the first sentence Badge says that Apte told him that I told Apte to finish Gandhi, Nehru and Suhrawardy. In the second sentence Badge says that he heard me saying “Be successful and come back” to Apte and Godse, by which he inferred that it might have referred to the first sentence told by Apte.
Everything else that goes to swell up the voluminous record of the Prosecution evidence the cartloads of correspondence, the searches, the numerous witnesses from the Minister down to the film-star and from the Maharaj down to the taxi driver-is meant only to intensify the stage-effect and so far as my case is concerned must be taken as “ineffective” as the “trunk-call” on the telephone in the Maha Sabha Bhawan.
Even Madan Lal’s story counts for nothing for reasons which I have given in sections (18 and 19) of this statement Angad Singh and the Minister say that they heard it from Jain; Jain says he heard it from Madan; and Madan says he never told it to Jain, and that it was in itself false. Besides, the story, even as told by Jain, dares not connect me personally and definitely with the alleged conspiracy.
Now, of the two above sentences in Badge’s evidence in which alone an effort is made to connect me definitely and directly with this conspiracy, the first sentence is an hearsay. Badge the approver alleges that Apte told that sentence to him. Apte and Godse both deny that they ever told it to Badge and that they were never told by me as alleged. There is absolutely no evidence to corroborate Badge’s allegation. So that the first allegation of Badge is not only an hearsay but an uncorroborated hearsay. Even what an approver personally hears or sees is not generally accepted by law as a reliable evidence if it is not corroborated. How totally unreliable must then be held an hearsay told and admitted to be an hearsay by an approver and which stands totally uncorroborated !
Similar reasons though not the same, vitiate the reliability of the second sentence which Badge says he personally heard me telling to Apte and Godse. If it is assumed it was so, then it is not an hearsay. But Badge himself admits that sentence “Be successful and come back”, was not said by me directly in connection with the conspiracy. Badge, only inferred that it might have been in connection with the conspiracy. Moreover Apte and Godse bothe assert that the story of the visit of the three to my house and the allegation of my having uttered that sentence is but a fabrication and totally false. It is corroborated by none or by nothing else. So it is an uncorroborated inference, and that too not of a logician but of an approver, which could never be held reliable or having any evidentiary value at all in a court of law. Thus in as much as the case against me is found to rest entirely on the two above-mentioned allegations-the first the uncorroborated hearsay told by the approver and the second the uncorroborated inference drawn by the approver-both of which can never be held as convincing evidence in any court of law, I submit that the whole case against me gets automatically demolished and my innocence unquestionably established.
(26) Upto this stage of my statement I have dealt in a way, with the negative side of my Defence. I have tried to disprove whatever evidence was produced by the Prosecution to implicate me. But now I beg to draw the attention of Your Honour to what may be called the positive side of my defence. I have been accused of so wicked a crime as to abet the murder of Gandhiji and of an incitement against the life of Pandit Nehru too. It is absolutely relevant if I try to bring to the notice of Your Honour the personal feelings I cherished regarding Gandhiji and Panditji too. I shall not refer to my relations personal and public with Gandhiji in the rather remote past by reciting how in 1908 Gandhiji resided in “India House” in London owned by the well-known personality, Pandit Shyamji Krishnavarma, and placed under my management and led by me; how Gandhiji and myself lived together as friends and worked together as compatriots, how later on he paid a personal visit with his wife to me and my family and spent hours in happy talks about our old comradeship and current politics. I would not waste the time of the Court in telling how Gandhiji wrote now and then kind notes about me in “Young India” too. Because those memories would naturally be held as too distant in so far as this case is concerned. Enough to say that in spite of fundamental differences in our ideologies on some points and in virtue of close affinity on others, there ever continued a mutual respect for and a personal goodwill to each other.
I shall only take the few past years in consideration. That too because the Court has allowed the Prosecution to produce as exhibits a score of letters dating as far back as the year 1938. I shall be, therefore, certainly allowed to refer to some six or seven press notes, issued by me and published in the Press during the shorter period from 1940 onwards. I shall quote extracts from them in this my statement itself. But in order to prove that those extracts could not have been taken from memory alone I have attached separately the original prints and letters to this statement as well as some newspaper-cuttings in which they were published on those various dates. If the Court is pleased to go through them to get these quotations in this my statement corroborated, those attached prints would be useful. One thing at any rate these attached prints will prove, that they could not have been printed to order to day.
As to these news-prints attached to this statement, it should also be noted that almost all of them were produced by the Prosecution witness Mr. Pradhan (No. 129) from the very files which have been admitted as being in my possession by the Prosecution evidence itself. And then they were numbered as Defence exhibits and handed over to the possession of the Court.
(A) My Press-note regarding Pandit Nehru :-
The following statement was issued by me on 6th November 1940 and published throughout the Indian Press when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was sentenced to four years imprisonment. This extract will be found on page 262 of “Veer Savarkar’s Whirl-wind Propaganda”-a book which is a collection of my statements and published by Mr. A. S. Bhide. The original pages are attached separately to this statement for corroboration. (Vide Annexure A).
“The news of the sentence of four years imprisonment passed on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru must have come as a painful shock to every Indian patriot. Inspite of differences as to principles and policy which compel both of us to work under different colours, I shall be failing in my duty as a Hindu Sabhite if I do not express my deep appreciation of the patriotic and even the humanitarian motives which had actuated Pandit Jawaharlalji throughout his public career and my sympathy for the sufferings which he heas consequently had to face”.-Savarkar.
(B) My Press-note on the arrest of Gandhiji and Nehru :-
The following extracts is taken from a statement issued to the Press immediately after the arrest of the leaders in August 1942 :-
(Vide Exhibit D. 36)
“The inevitable has happened. The foremost and patriotic leaders of the Congress Party including Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and hundreds of other leaders of the Congress Party are arrested and imprisoned. The personal sympathies of the Hindu Sanghatanists go with them in their sufferings for a patriotic cause.
“I warn the Government once again that the only effective way to begin with to appease
the Indian discontent cannot but be an unequivocal declaration by the British Parliament to the effect that India is granted a political staturs of a completely free and equal partner in the Indo-British Commonwealth with rights and duties equal with those of Great Britain herself and that this should be immediately implemented by investing India with actual political powers as envisaged in the above declaration”. – Savarkar.
(C) My Press-note regarding Gandhiji’s fast :-
I was a member of the All-Party Conference along with Dr. Jayakar, Sir Jagdish Prasad, and other leaders and which was presided over by Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru. It was in the capacity that I issued the following statement to the Press, in connection with Gandhiji’s fast, while he was in detention in 1943. (See Exhibit D.79). (Vide Annexure B) – a cutting from “Pioneer” in which this statement appeared, dated February 22, 1943.
“The time has come that all those who are deeply concerned regarding the serious condition of Gandhiji’s health and desire to leave no stone unturned to save his precious life should realize immediately that whether we like it or not, the only way now which is likely to prove more effective than any other in saying Gandhiji’s life is to issue a national appeal to Mahatma Gandhi himself to break his fast before the time of his capacity to hear the strain is stretched out to the breaking point. Even now it is dangerous to depend on chance.
“We have tried our best to persuade the Government to release Gandhiji and to spare his life. It is no use now hoping against hope that the fast or its moral or human appeals would bring about any change of heart of the Government. They have made it quite clear that they have washed their hands clean of all responsibility for any further consequences however fatal they may be. But now the sands of time are running so fast that we cannot waste a moment in only resenting and protesting. No appeals, resignations or resolutions addressed to the Government can secure Gandhiji’s release. We must now turn our faces from the aliens and unsympathetic doors of the Viceregal Lodge to the bedside of Gandhiji himself and request him to break his fast in the very national interest to serve which he must have undertaken it.
There is no moral question that may stand in the way of breaking this fast before it proves fatal. Apart from the fact that moral question when they are made to serve political ends must after all be mainly judged by their political utility. Gandhiji himself when he took up the fast did so subject to two conditions. The first was that he was not going to risk his life but wished to survive the ordeal. Consequently, this was only a capacity fast. He mentioned no doubt, a set number of days, but that was a haphazard calculation subject to two main limits referred to above.
Secondly, apart from this aspect there is a higher objective which must override all other verbal hair-splitting. That objective is that the Nation which Gandhiji wants to serve by his fast even at the risk of his life does itself feel that his precious life at this juncture is of immeasurably greater value than his loss to it.
There are certainly more chances of his yielding to this national will than yielding of the Government to our irritations or cajolings. Because we know Gandhiji has more than once allowed higher national objectives to override any moral quibblings involved in vows taken up and broken by him as in the case ofRajkot and several other penances.
I consequently request all those gentlemen who have taken part in the Conference at Delhi to issue an appeal to Gandhiji himself to give up his fast.”
(D) My Press-note regarding Mr. Jinnah :-
Badge has stated in his evidence that Apte told him that I wanted to finish Suhrawardy as well. Perhaps Badge thought that this charge against me at any rate would be held more convincing as Suhrawardy is a Muslim. But how strongly I had been condemning any internecine and fratricidal act of violence against a law-abiding fellow citizen, whether Hindu or Muslim simply because he believed in a different religious or political ideology would be best illustrated by the following statement which was issued by me on 27th July, 1943, and which was published in the Press. It condemns a murderous attack made on the Muslim leader, the late Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah, who up to that time had been a citizen of India and therefore our fellow-country man. (See Exhibit D.8).
“I am extremely pained to learn of the murderous attempt made on the life of Mr. Jinnah and felicitate him on his narrow escape. It is very natural that he should have been touched to the quick, by the fact that a Moslem should have tried to take the life of one who has been the foremost advocate of the Moslem cause. Such internecine, unprovoked and murderous assaults, even if their motive be political or fanatical, constitute a stain on the public and civic life and must be strongly condemned.-V.D. Savarkar.”
Mr. Jinnah’s reply
I had asked my Secretary Mr. Bhide, to forward a copy of the above statement to Mr. Jinnah. In acknowledging the same Mr. Jinnah wrote to Mr. Bhide to the following effect on 15th August, 1943. (Exhibit D/75) :-
Mount Pleasant Road,
1st August, 1943.
I am in receipt of a copy of the statement issued by Mr, Savarkar to the Press and forwarded to me by you. I thank Mr. Savarkar for expressing his sympathies with me and condemning the attack made on my life.
(E) My Press-note regarding Mahatmaji’s Birthday :-
I had issued the following Press-note publishing a telegram sent to Gandhiji by me on 2nd October 1943. (Exhibit D/77) :-
“On his 75th birthday I offer my heartfelt felicitations to Mahatma
Gandhiji and to our Nation. May God grant him long life and vigorous health.-Savarkar.
(F) My Press-note on Kasturba’s death :-
The following telegram was sent by me on 23rd February, 1944 to Gandhiji and released to the Press (see Exhibit D/78). A cutting from the ‘Amrit Bazar Patrika’ which amongst other papers, published it, is also attached to this statement at the end. (Annexure C.)
“With a heavy heart I mourn the death of Kasturba. A faithful wife and an
affectionate mother, she died a noble death in the service of God and man. Your grief is shared by the whole nation”.-Savarkar.
(G) My Press-note regarding Mahatmaji’s release :-
The following statement was issued by me on 7th May 1944 and was published by
the press, regarding Gandhiji’s release from detention (see Exhibit D/81) :-
“The whole Nation feels a sense of relief at the news that the Government has
released Ganghiji in view of his advanced age and declining health owing to his recent serious illness. It was a human avt. I wish Gandhiji a speedy recovery I hope that the Government will now release Pandit Nehru and all those gentlemen who have been incarcerated without being tried for political activities, or put publicly on trial so that the country may know what are the definite charges that the Government has against them.”- V.D. Savarkar.”
(27) My attitude regarding the Central Government :-
soon after this last Press-note was issued by me, cataclysmical changes took place in Indian Politics. I had been foremost in leading the movement against the vivisection of India. But in the year 1947 our Motherland was at last divided. However, although Pakistan came into existence yet to counterbalance that loss, by far the larger part of Hindusthan succeeded in achieving its freedom from foreign domination. The fight for political independence in which as a soldier I too had fought, suffered and sacrificed for the last fifty years in no measure less than any other patriotic leader in my generation, had at last been won and a free and independent Indian State was born. I felt myself blessed to have survived to see my country free. No doubt a part of the mission remained unaccomplished, but we had not renounced our ambition to restore once more the integrity of our Motherland from the Indus to the Seas. For the realization of this ambition too it was imperative to consolidate that which we had already won, with this end in view I tried to impress on the public mind that first of all the Central Government must be rendered strong, whatever party may happen to lead it. Any change in that lead howsoever desirable should be effected by constitutional means alone. For, any act of violence or civil strife inside our camp was bound to endanger the State. Revolutionary mentality which was inevitable and justifiable while we were struggling against an alien and armed oppression must be instantly changed into a constitutional one if we wanted to save our State from dangerous party-strifes and civil wars. With this motto I wished that the two leading organisations, the Congress and the Congress and the Mahasabha, which were in fact coming very close to each other, should form a common front and strengthen the hands of the Central Government of our State. To that end I accepted the new National Flag. Though ill, I went to preside over the All Party Hindu Conference at Delhi and attended the Mahasabha Working Committee. The majority of the veteran leaders of the Mahasabha as well as some foremost Congressite leaders had also been striving to form such a common front in co-operation with me. The Mahasabha Working Committee passed a resolution to back up the Central Government. Dr. S.P. Mookerji the Mahasabha leader was already included in the Central Ministry and the step was appreciated by all of us. Some of these facts have come on the record of this Court too. (See Badge’s deposition, pages 224 and 225). P.W. 69 Dada Maharaj too says: “I attended the Conference at Bombay of the Hindu leaders, some where in December 1947. Veer Savarkar presided over it. He exhorted the Hindus to get united and since that India had attained its independence all parties should sink their differences and strengthen and support the Indian State”. (See P.W. 69 page 320).
Nevertheless we, who were regarded as the top leaders of the Hindu Maha Sabha,
discovered it soon that a large, active and determined section of the Hindu Sanghatanists in the Mahasabha and outside, resented this policy initiated by us ever since the Partition became an accomplished fact in August 1947. they openly began to oppose us in the Mahasabha and outside on the ground that a recognition of the Indian Union amounted to a recognition of Pakistan and co-operation with the then Central Government which refused to defend those millions of Hindus who tell victims to the outrageous Moslem fanaticism in Bengal and Punjab, was tantamount to the betrayal of the Hindu cause.
As I want to restrict this statement to those points only which are necessary to clarify my defence in this case, it is sufficient to point out that Apte, Godse and their group too had joined hands with the numerous followers all over India of this dissentient school in the Hindu Sanghatanist Camp ever since the partition was affected.
(A) Apte and Godse were not men to be led by the nose :-
The Prosecution evidence itself shows that Pandit Godse and Mr. Apte were men of strong convictions, sincerely devoted to the Hindu cause, critical of men and matters according to their standard of judgement, capable of initiative and willing to be led only when it suited their inclination or purpose but were the last persons to be led by the nose. The letters written by them as Hindu Sabha workers, to me as the Mahasabha President, and which are produced by the Prosecution as its evidence, disclose how they sometimes suggested and at times even ‘advised’ me what I should do, what I should write in my presidential address, how wrong I was in trusting some top leaders of the Mahasabha whom they did not trust, how they indirectly rebuked me also, for not working as they liked, for not writing for the Agrani and how they were highly displeased as I could not – to quote their words- ‘sink’ as loss some twenty thousand rupees in their newspaper concern. (See especially letters G1 (D/30), G26 (P/277), G43 (P/284),G70 (P/293) and GAS4 (P/298).
(B) It was no surprise therefore that Apte , Godse and their group should have denounced the Mahasabha resolution which directed full co-operation with the Central Government and upheld participation in it. Dr. Mukerji, Barrister N.C. Chaterji, Dr. Moonje, Shri Bhopatkar, myself and several of those leaders who wished to rally round the standard of the Indian Union and had supported the resolution, were dubbed by them as the “old lead” of the Mahasabha. In their daily ‘Agrani’ or ‘Hindu’ Rashtra they continued for months their attacks on the failure of the Mahasabha under its old leaders to defend Hindudom and kept exhorting the Hindu youths to form an independent “Council of Action” wherein ‘old lead’ should have no hand whatsoever.
(C) Throughout this statement, I have been referring mostly to those facts alone which have already been corroborated by the Prosecution evidence itself. On this point too I shall quote some relevant lines from the evidence of Badge who,-wherever the pardon he had secured as an approver was not in risk-gave more or less accurate information. Says he: ‘I remember that on 15th August 1947 when the Indian independence was celebrated Veer Savarkar had hoisted the Hindu Mahasabha and the National Flag at his house. It is true that Hindu Mahasabhaites resented to the flying of the National Flag at his house by Tatyarao Savarkar. I had also resented to his flying the National Flag. Godse, Apte and others too resented it. I know that after the vivisection of India the policy of the Hindu Mahasabha had been to strengthen the Central Government (Nehru Government). Mr. L.B. Bhopatkar read over a resolution that had been passed by the Hindu Mahasabha. The resolution was to the effect that we should work shoulder to shoulder with the Congress and support the Nehru Government (Central Government). This was read over at Barsi before the Maharashtra Provincial Hindu Sabha. It was in December 1946. Godse and Apte opposed the resolution vehemently. It is true that Godse and Apte did criticize recently for sometime the policy of the Hindu Mahasabha in their paper Agrani and the daily “Hindu Rashtra’. (See Badge’s evidence pages 224 and 225).
When, all of a sudden, on the 30th of January, the shocking news reached me that Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated at Delhi. As soon as I was rung up by the public news-agencies, I issued the following statement to the Press, on 4th February 1948 before my arrest. It was published in all reading papers in India. I am enclosing with this statement, a cutting from the “Times of India” of Bombay, dated 7th February 1948 to corroborate the following extract. The statement reads thus:-
“The statement of the President (vide Annexure D), Mr. L.B. Bhopatkar and the joint
statement of some members of the Working Committee of the Hindu Mahasabha at Delhi, have done well in expressing authoritatively the feelings and in clearing the position of the Hindu Mahasabha as a Democratic and Public Organization as regards the gruesome assassination of Mahatma Gandhiji. I too as one of the Vice-Presidents of the Mahasabha subscribe to their feelings and condemn unequivocally such fratricidal crimes whether they are perpetrated by individual frenzy or mob fury. Let every patriotic citizen set to his heart the stern warning which history utters that a successful national revolution and a newly born national State can have no worse enemy than a fratricidal civil war, especially so when it is encompassed from outside by alien hostility”.-V.D.Savarkar.
(A) that, there is absolutely no direct evidence against me tracing my individual
connection with or participation in the alleged conspiracy, either in its conception or in any of the acts alleged to have been done in pursuance thereof.
(B) that, nothing incriminating – arms or explosives or anything of similar nature-was found in my possession or power.
(C) that, out of some ten thousand documents comprising my correspondence covering a wide period of some ten years or so, not a word or a hint could be discovered incriminating me.
(D) that, the entire case against me rests on three or four sentences which constitute but a hearsay, that too told by approver who admits it to be an hearsay and that too stands totally uncorroborated by any independent and reliable evidence.
(E) that, my Press-note quoted in the above Sections (Sections 26 and 27) show how I held both Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in high esteem for their patriotic services and sacrifices, how I denounced the British Government whenever it arrested them in our common cause, how I shared with Gandhiji even his domestic sorrows and bereavements, how I rejoiced whenever he was released, how I prayed for his long life when he attained his 75th birthday, how Gandhiji too sent his greetings to me on my 60th anniversary celebration, and how all these facts prove that any ideological or actual differences we might have had with each other were never allowed by us to degenerate into any public or personal malignity.
That is why as soon as the sudden and shocking news of the assassination of Mahatma
Gandhi reached me that I publicly condemned it in a Press-note, as a gruesome and fratricidal crime in terms unequivocal. And even to day I condemn the assassination of Gandhiji in terms as unequivocal.
In view of all these salient points I submit that the Prosecution case has failed to prove according to the standard and measure of proof required in a criminal case any of the charges leveled against me.
I therefore, respectfully pray that Your Honour will be pleased for the above, amongst other reasons, to acquit me without any the least blemish on my character and to order me to be released forthwith.
DELHI, (sd.) V. D. SAVARKAR,
Dated the 20th November 1948. Accused.
An extract on page 262 of “Veer Shankar’s whirlwind propaganda “ by Mr. A. S. Bhide (Vide Section 26(A) page 46 above).
“The news of the sentence of four years imprisonment passed on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru must have come as a painful shock to every Indian Patriot. Inspite of difference as to principles and policy which compel both of us to work under different colours I shall be failing in my duty as a Hindu Sabhait if I do not express my deep appreciation of the patriotic and even humanitarian motives which had actuated Pandit Jawaharlalji throughout his public career and my sympathy for the sufferings which he has consequently had to face.
“Although the present Working Committee of the Congress including Pandit Jawaharlalji himself maintained a guilty silence and led by Gandhiji did not utter a word of protest or sympathy when patriotic public workers like Senapati Bapat, Babu Shbhash Chandra Bose and several other leaders and followers belonging to parties who differed from the Gandhist school in the Congress were being sentenced under the Defence of India Act ever since the War broke out, yet the Hindu Mahasabha did not fail in its duty in sounding a warning against the Government policy of unalloyed repression. The Working Committee of the Hindu Mahasabha passed a resolution so early as in May 1940, in which the Mahasabha urged upon the Government that the immediate grant of at least the Dominion Status as contemplated in the Westminister Stature could be the only effective remedy to secure a genuine and wholehearted co-operation of the Indian people and that a more unalloyed repression could only drive the discontent deeper. Trust alone could beget trust. And constitutional progress alone could evoke a National co-operation.
“I ask the Government to ponder a while seriously on the simple question that why is it that a man like Pt. Jawaharlalji who as soon as the War broke out was so impulsively carried off his feet as to declare that India should offer unconditional co-operation to the British who were out to fight the cause of World Democracy, should now be so embittered as to condemn all co-operation and thus leave no other course to the Government but to pass such a vindictive sentence on him under the Defence of India Act ?
“The Hindu Mahasabha unlike the Congress was not carried off its feet so impulsively when the War broke out and publicly asserted the fact that one of the belligerents in Europe went to War either to save World Democracy or on account of any other such altruistic motive but every one took the field for its own National interests and Imperialistic ambitions and as a consequence of it the Mahasabha had from the very beginning chalked out for itself its own policy of Responsive co-operation as the only means at hand to secure their own National interest as well.
“But is it not clear that co-operation under this policy also implies a relative response ? Can unalloyed repression alone ever be response best calculated to secure any genuine co-operation ?”
“The very fact, that I as a Hindusabhait am genuinely anxious that the Hindu Sanghatanists should under present circumstances to all that lies in their power to participate in all such war efforts in the direction of industrialization and militarization of India which the Indian Government carries on and which are genuinely calculated to defend India against an alien invasion or internal anarchy, compels me to urge on the Indian Government to get themselves disillusioned before it is too late so as to realise in time that no obstacle can be more serious to the real defence of India than to depend on repression under the Defence of India Act as the only means at hand to secure peace or enforced co-operation : and to throw wide open the gates of constitutional progress by an immediate grant of dominion Status to begin with. If but this is done, the Government may perchance find that even men like Nehruji will feel it there duty in the interests of Indian Nation itself to allay themselves with the Government and even if some section does not follow this policy, their triades against such an alliance between the Indian People and the British Government will automatically fall so flat on the public mind as to defeat their own purpose without the constant necessity of resorting to any such vindictive sentences under any such Defence of India Acts.
HINDU SABHAS, WATCH OUT.
The coming Census and your duty.
The attention of all Provincial and Local Hindu Sabhas is most emphatically directed to the urgency of taking up the Census work in hand. It should be remembered that the work of the Census is in a way as important, urgent and pregnant with far reaching consequences, as the Hyderabad Civil Resistance movement was. For at least ten years to come all constitutional progress and matters regarding the public services, legislatures etc. will necessasily be indexed and determined by the figures and information registered in the coming Census.
The senseless policy of the Congress had, as in so many other respects, hit the Hindus hard by boycotting the last Census and there is no telling if the Congress led by some new “Inner Voice” vagaries of Gandhiji may not resort even this time to some such “Satyagraha” a term which has nearly come to imply the sacrificing of Hindu interests alone and propitiating the fetish of Pseudo Nationality. It is all the more imperative consequently that the Hindu Mahasabha should be on its own guard from the very beginning; it should take the field in time and give independent initiative and guidance to Hindudom by impressing a correct registration of their population strength, in the coming Census and explaining to them the double harm the Hindus would inflict upon themselves in all directions of their corporate life if they fail to guard Hindu interests at the time of this Census also.
UNDERTAKE A WHIRL-WIND CAMPAIGN.
Consequently every Provincial, District and Local Hindu Sabha should undertake forthwith a whirl-wind campaign throughout India to get the population strength of the Hindus recorded correctly in the coming Census and to see that all illegitimate efforts on the part of the Moslems etc., to secure exaggerated records of their population frustrated. Moreover, it is not the correct record of population strength alone that counts. Information in almost all directions must be correctly registered if the interests of the Hindus are to be guarded in all matters, political, social, religious, economical, historical etc.
In order to outline and methodise the campaign, some leading instructions are given below which should be carried out immediately and without fail by all Provincial, District and Local Hindu Sabhas throughout India in so far as they concern their respective spheres.
A cutting from “PIONEER” dated February 22nd, 1943 (City Edition)
(Eshibit D. 79)
Vide Section 26 (C) page 47 above.
APPEAL TO GANDHI TO BREAK FAST
Savarkar’s Suggestion :-
Bombay February 20th “A national appeal to Mahatma Gandhi himself to break his fast” is suggested by Mr. V. D. Savarkar, President of the Hindu Sabha, as “the only way now, which is likely to prove more effective than any other to save his life.
“We must face boldly the stark situation as it stares us in the face” says Mr. Savarkar. “We must now turn out faces from the alien unsympathetic doors of the Viceregal Lodge to the bed side of Mahatma Gandhi himself and request him to break his fast in the very national interests, to serve which he must have undertaken it.”
“We have tried our best up to this time to persuade Government to release Mahatma Gandhi and spare his life. It is no use now hoping against hope that the fast or its moral or human appeal would bring about any change of heart on the part of Government. Millions of us have disagreed with Government and even resented this attitude on their part; sands of time are running so fast we cannot waste even a moment in resenting and protesting. No appeals, resignations or or resolutions addressed to Government can secure Mahatma Gandhi’s release.
“There is no moral question that may stand in the way of breaking his fast before it proves fatal. Mahatma Gandhi, when he declared the fast, stated that he was not going to risk his life but wished to survive the ordeal, and it was a capacity fast. He mentioned no doubt a set number of days, but that was only a haphazard calculation.”
“Secondly, there is a higher objective which must override all other verbal hairsplitting. Mahatma Gandhi’s life is not so much his own as it is a national asset. There are more chances of his yielding to this national will than of Government yielding to our irritation or cajoling. We know that Mahatma Gandhi has more than once allowed a higher national objective to override any mere quibbling involved in vows taken by him, as in the case of Rajkot and other penance he underwent. When he found that his decisions were likely to lead to national disaster.”
Concluding, Mr. Savarkar says : “I, therefore, implore all these gentlemen who are taking part in the Delhi conference to issue an appeal without the loss of a single minute to Mahatma Gandhi himself to give up his fast, signed by each one of them and representatives of hundreds of institutions all over the country which have already expressed their gravest anxiety to save his life.”
A cutting from “Amrit Bazar Patrika” dated February 24th, 1944.
(Exhibit D. 78)
Vide Section 26 (F) page 50 above.
V.D. Savarkar :- Mr. V.D. Savarkar has sent the following telegram to Mahatma Gandhi.
“With a heavy heart I mourn the death of Kasturba. A faithful wife and an affectionate mother she died a noble death in the service of God and man. Your grief is shared by the whole nation.”
A cutting from the “Times of India”, Bombay dated 7th February 1948 vide Sec.29, page 55 above.
In a statement issued on February 4, the day previous to his arrest, Mr. V.D. Savarkar, former President of the Hindu Mahasabha said : “The statement of the President and the joint statement of some members of the Working Committee at Delhi have done well in expressing authoritatively the feelings and in clearing the position of the Hindu Mahasabha as a democratic and public organization as regards the gruesome assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. I too as one of the Vice-presidents of the Mahasabha subscribe to their feelings and condemn unequivocally such fratricidal crime whether they are perpetrated by individual frenzy or mob fury.
“Let every patriotic citizen set to his heart the stern warning which history utters that a successful national revolution and a newly-born national State can have no worse enemy than a
fratricidal civil war, especially so when it is encompassed from outside by alien hostility.