Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Death of Lal Bahadur Shastri

Many people believe India’s Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died of poisoning on 11/1/1966 and not of heart attack as officially mentioned. They think T. N. Kaul, then India’s ambassador to USSR, poisoned Lal Bahadur Shastri so that Indira Gandhi can become prime minister.

On 2/10/2012 Karan Razdan raised to topic about Shastri’s death in The Last Word on CNN-IBN. Inder Malhotra, Kuldip Nayar and Anil Shastri were panelists. Kuldip Nayar mentioned reasons for suspicion. Questions were raised in Lok Sabha. T. N. Kaul phoned up to Kuldip Nayar and asked him to deny there was poisoning. Shastri’s thermos went missing. There was a commission to inquire about the death. Shastri’s doctor died in an accident the day before he was to depose before the commission. Shastri’s personal assistant died a similar death. The implication is that they were murdered.

Inder Malhotra in his column Rear View in The Indian Express dt. 17/9/2012 has written that in 1965, relations between Shastri and Indira Gandhi became strained almost to the point of breaking. She had upstaged him during language riots by going to Madras. She had said “Do you think this government can survive if I resign today. I am telling you it won’t. Yes, I have jumped over the prime minister’s head and I would do it again whenever the need arises.” On 31/12/1965 Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari came to Indira Gandhi’s house to say he has resigned in sheer disgust. Indira Gandhi said “I will be the next to be thrown out. It is not a cabinet worth staying in.”

Shastri was cremated. If he had been buried, his body could have been exhumed and tested for poisoning. T. N. Kaul and Indira Gandhi are dead. It is 46 years since the death. It is difficult to find out about poisoning but not impossible. People in Tashkent or Moscow can shed light on the case. There are detectives who deal with cold cases who can find out some clues and solve the case.

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