September 30, 2022

Gandhi Murder Case-7: What was Accused Admitted in the Trial

For better understanding, Read this article-Gandhi Murder Case-6: When trial was held at Red Fort

The lawmatics Series- Gandhi Murder Case-Part 7

At the trial the defence of the conspirators was a simple one. Godse admitted firing his pistol at Mahatma Gandhi and fatally wounding him; but he maintained that it was his individual act, and nobody else had any concern with or knowledge of what he had planned to do. He could not but admit that he and Apte travelled to Delhi by air on January 17, and again on January 27, each time under assumed names. He further admitted that he and Apte had stayed at the Marina Hotel in New Delhi from January 17 to January 20, and registered their arrival by giving false names. He admitted the brief visit to Dr. Parchure at Gwalior and the facts that he gave a fictitious name to the attendant at the Delhi railway station while booking a retiring-room for himself.

Apte similarly admitted the manner in which he had travelled to Delhi with Godse on both occasions and stayed at the Marina Hotel during their first visit. He also admitted going to Gwalior and seeing Dr. Parchure, but he denied that he had gone back to Delhi with Godse. He said that he had parted company with Godse and returned to Bombay directly from Gwalior.

Karkare admitted coming to Delhi in the company of Pahwa on January 17, and staying at Sharif Hotel under the assumed name of B. N. Bias. He denied having paid a second visit to Delhi and being present there on the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s murder. He professed complete ignorance of the alleged conspiracy.

Shankar, when he was examined by the trial judge, after the conclusion of the evidence for the prosecution, made a statement supporting in a large measure the deposition of his employer, Badge, and pleaded that he had merely carried out his master’s orders. But after arguments no his behalf had been addressed to the court by his counsel, he retracted his previous statement, and in a written petition explained that he had been compelled by the police to admit the allegations of the prosecution. No police influence could, of course, have been exercised upon him, once the case was placed before the court, and his subsequent resilement must have been the result of persuasion by his coaccused.

Gopal Godse totally denied his participation in the conspiracy and even repelled the allegation that he had gone to Delhi on January 18 and been present there on the 20th.

Pahwa’s defence was that he had gone to Delhi to express his resentment against the treatment which was being meted out to refugees like himself. He had been at pains he asserted, to explode the slab of gun-cotton at a safe distance from everyone, so that no harm should be caused by his act. Dr. Parchure said that Godse and Apte had come to him and asked him to send some volunteers in order to stage a peaceful demonstration at Delhi; but he had flatly refused to fall in with their wishes. He denied that he had helped them to procure a pistol.

The defence plea thus amounted to no more than this: There was no conspiracy to murder Mahatma Gandhi. The explosion of January 20 and the shooting of Mahatma Gandhi were the individual and unrelated acts of Pahwa and Nathuram Godse respectively. No evidence was, however, led by the prisoner in support of their plea, and they contented themselves by challenging the veracity of the prosecution story on the principle that the prosecution case must fall or stand by itself, and a bad case needs no rebuttal.

Reference

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