For better understanding, read this article- Gandhi Murder Case- 3: The day of 20th January When accused first tried to assassinate Gandhi

The lawmatics Series- Gandhi Murder Case- Part-4

Karkare, one of the accused in gandhi’s murder, in his statement to the police, gave a vivid description of the talk he had with Godse and Apte (another accused in Gandhi’s case) on the 26th at Thana.

“This was his first meeting with them after the debacle of the 20th We walked and came to Thana railway station, and sat down on the cement platform near the goods yard. This was a completely secluded place. It was about 9.45 p.m. and it was a moonlit night. This place was suggested by Apte and Godse as they did not want anyone to overhear our conversation. On taking our seats on the platform I asked Apte and Godse how they had come back from Delhi after the explosion of January 20. Godse was in a calm mood and asked me not to discuss anything about the matter but talk or our present circumstances and also of our future plans. This was urgent, because Madan Lai had been arrested and he would disclose our names.

Godse also said that we would be arrested by the police and our plans to assassinate Gandhiji would fail. He, therefore, suggested that there should not be nine or ten persons in the execution of the plan, because history showed that such revolutionary plots in which several persons were concerned had always been foiled, and it was only the effort of a single individual that succeeded.

He mentioned several instances for history and told us that acts of single persons, such as Madan Lal Dhingra and Vasudev Rao Gogate, had been successful, because they were individual efforts. He had, therefore, decided to assassinate Gandhiji singlehanded. He asked me to go on to Ahmednagar, if I so desired, and carry on the work of Hindu Mahasabha. He also requested me to push the sale of the shares of Hindu Rashtra Parkasham and to look for a good writer in place of Apte. I was stunned by this suggestion and I saw that Apte was silent. I thought that Godse and Apte must have discussed the matter; and that Apte was fully aware of Godse’s intention.

Inside me I felt that Apte had made up his mind to stand by the side of Nathuram. I had heard that Godse was ashamed to show his face in Maharashtra and I asked him if this was his reason for preparing himself to die. Godse looked stunned and determined and told me not to say such things and carry out the work entrusted to me. I insisted on knowing how they were going to commit the murder of Gandhiji. Godse then told me that he would procure a revolver within a day or two, or would find some other means of killing Gandhiji, and until he had accomplished his aim. He would not enter Maharashtra.

I felt that I should also be with them and told Godse that I, too, was prepared for the worst and would join them in their project. I was told that Badge and Shankar had reached Poona safely and were attending to their work. Godse also told me that Apte had gone to Poona and settled his private affairs.

On hearing this I became very excited, and declared my intention to do whatever they did, even at the risk of my life. Apte, on this, gave me Rs. 300/, and asked me to go to Delhi the next day. Godse and Apte were at that time staying in a hotel at Bombay under assumed names, V. Vinayakrao and D. Vinayakrao. On the 25th they had booked two seats on the plane going to Delhi on the morning of the 27th, giving the same false names, V. Vinayakrao and D. vinayakrao.

In the meantime, the police were making extensive enquiries just as Godse and Apte had feared. The course of these enquiries was guided not so much by what Pahwa had revealed to the police after his arrest but by a piece of indiscretion committed by him before the incident of January 20.

In the beginning of October 1947 Pahwa came into contact with a Bombay professor, Dr. J.C. Jain. Pahwa appealed to him for help, saying that he was a refuggee who had lost everything in Pakistan and wanted to earn his living in whatever way was possible. Dr. Jain, who besides being a professor of Hindi is the author of several books, offered to engage him as an agent for the sale of his books and pay him a commission on the sale proceeds. Pahwa agreed, but this job did not prove very profitable. It did, however, establish a friendly relationship between the two men, and Pahwa began to speak of his emotions and aspirations.

He boasted of his exploits at Ahmednagar, saying that he had assaulted Rao Shaib Patwardhan at a public meeting because he was preaching Hindu-Muslim unity, adding with a note of triumph that the police had left him alone as they were all ‘Hindu- minded’. He had organised a volunteer corps to devend Hindus and, in particular, the refugees. On one occasion in the beginning of January he spoke, with a mysterious air, of a plot to murder a leader.

Dr. Jain thought the young man was merely boiling over with indignation, and did not believe that there was any truth in what he said. But the next time he met Pahwa ne asked with the name of the leader who was to be the victim of their plot, and when Pahwa revealed the name or Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Jain, though still increduious, gave him some fatherly advice, telling him not to behave like a foolish child.

‘You are a refugee,’ he said, ‘you have suffered a great deal in the Punjab riots. Begin yourself a victim of violence, you should not seek your remedy in violence,’ and so on at great length in this strain. When Pahwa let him, Dr. Jain believed that he had converted the young man, if indeed there was any basis of truth in the story of the plot, and dismissed the matter from this mind as a thing of small consequence.

But when only a week later he read of the outrage at Birla house and the arrest of Madan Lai Pahwa, he was indignant with himself for having remained so criminally complacent, and at once telephoned Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Minister for Home Affairs, who was present at Bombay, and Mr.S.K. Patil, President of the Bombay Provincial Congress Committee. Neither of them was available, but he was able to speak to Mr. Kher, the Chief Minister of Bombay, first on the telephone and then personally in his office. He also saw Mr. Morarji Desai, who was then the Home minister of Bombay State. He told them the story of the plot to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi just as he had heard it from Pahwa. The police at once took the matter up and began a vigorous search for the persons who were reported to be Pahwa’s associates.’


As mentioned in the book ‘The Murder of Mahatma’ by G.D.Khosla (Formerly Chief Justice of Punjab, who heard the appeal of Nathuram Godse & others and gave his most historic verdict in the case of assassination), First Published: 1965