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10 Indian politicians whose deaths have been a mystery

1. Sanjay Gandhi

Death: 23rd June 1980

In the Delhi summer of 1980, Sanjay Gandhi, who had returned to power in the general elections, fresh from his victory in Amethi, and was wielding considerable clout in Indira Gandhi's government died in an aircraft crash near Delhi's Safdarjung airport. The trainer who was also flying with him died in the crash. Eyewitnesses said, Sanjay, a daredevil pilot, was doing acrobatics with his small aircraft, when it plunged down. But there were others who smelled conspiracy behind this crash

Conspiracy theorists say that Sanjay, who wielded unbelievable dominance over Indira Gandhi's government, had his own set of enemies in politics, who plotted his death.

The aircraft plunged towards ground and tailspined. The crash landing of the plane was an eyebrow raising event. The plane did not catch fire or explode after hitting the ground unlike any other crash landing.

Indira Gandhi was shell-shocked when she was told about her son's death. She went to the crashsite in search of Sanjay's keyring and his wristwatch, but she could not find them. Conspiracy theorists say, the keyrings and wristwatch were probably taken away by a relative.

These enthralling facts have drawn a cover of ambiguity over the causes behind Sanjay's death.

2. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee

Death: June 23, 1953

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukharjee was a political titan in his own right. A member of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's first cabinet, he left the government and founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the political wing of RSS. Dr Mookerjee's death took place in inexplicable conditions. He was admitted to hospital 90 days after his arrest due to his ailing condition. He was suffering from dry pleurisy and coronary problems and had already intimated doctors about his allergy to penicillin. Yet he was dispensed one.

He was against the Congress's decision over providing an independent status, a different emblem and a separate Prime Minister to Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. "Ek desh me do nishan, do pradhan, nahin chalega, nahin chalega" was his slogan. Dr Mookerjee was arrested in 1953 as soon as he entered Kashmir valley to stage protests. Due to his aggressive approach, it was rumored that the powers that be plotted to take away his life.

What raises eyebrows is the fact that no post mortem was conducted over his body after his death. His body was directly flown to Kolkata and not sent to Delhi.

An enquiry commission was demanded to dig into the reasons behind Dr. Mookerjee's death. But Nehru provided no heed to any such demands ignoring Mookerjee's mother's repeated requests.

The former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee even alleged that Dr. Mookerjee died due to negligence committed by Jawahar Lal Nehru.

3. Lal Bahadur Shastri

Death: January 11, 1966

He was the first Indian Prime Minister to die while in office. Lal Bahadur Shahtri and the then Pakistan President Ayub Khan met in Tashkent for a summit which was organized by Soviet prime minister Alexei Kosygin. The Tashkent declaration was signed between India and between Pakistan at this summit, in which the two armies returned to their respective positions after the 1965 war, with India handing over the vital Haji Pir to Pakistan.

That night, Shastriji died of multiple heart attacks. His wife alleged that he was poisoned. Suspiciously, his body was blue after he died which points finger at him being poisoned and not dying of heart attack. The butler who served Shahstri was arrested but was later freed due to lack of evidence.

In 2009, a journalist Anuj Dhar requested the government to carry out a probe into the mysterious death of Shastri. A report was released after some days which said that the prime minister's office has some documents related to Shastri's death but they cannot be released in public as it would harm India's foreign relations and create national unrest.

The Russian butler's arrest triggered many questions and suspicions but these queries still remain unanswered.

4. Subhash Chandra Bose

Death: not declared

The last days of one of India's greatest sons Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose are still shrouded in mystery despite several commissions of inquiry. It was reported by the British governement that Bose died in a plane crash in Taipei in 1945. He was charred to death. Another report said that he died in Siberia while he was taken captive by the Soviet army.

There are numerous tales spinning around Bose's last days. One speculation is that Stalin and Molotov conversed over the decision to keep Bose in Soviet Union or not.

Another series of rumors say that Bose was not in the plane that crashed in Taipei.

In 1956, the government set up the Shah Nawaz committee which visited Japan to investigate. But help from Taiwanese was never sought. The ashes of Netaji are kept in the Renkoji monastery in Japan, but the Indian government is yet to bring them back fearing unrest in the country. The reports by Justice Mukherjee Commission were also termed irrelevant.

5. Lalit Narayan Mishra

Death: January 3, 1975

L N Mishra was the power behind Indira Gandhi's throne during the Seventies. A shrewd politician from Bihar, he served as the railway minister. He was on a tour to Samistipur to unveil the new Samastipur- Muzaffarpur broad gauge railway line, when a blast took place on the dais. Mishra was critically injured and he died the next day in Danapur Railway hospital. The reasons behind his tragic death rstill remain under cover. Fingers were even pointed at CIA by some leaders close to Indira Gandhi.

His brother Jaganath Mishra alleges of a bigger conspiracy behind Lalit Mishra's death. Some Anand Margis were arrested on charge of conspiring to kill Mishra, but the Anand Marg vehemently denied the charge.

The bomb explosion which led to his death still remains unsolved.

6. Sardar Beant Singh

Death: August 31, 1995

The former Punjab Chief Minister, credited with the end of Khalistani terrorism in Punjab, was killed in a huge blast outside the state secretariat in 1995. There were 14 others including three commandos who died with the chief minister. Beant Singh was popular for bringing Punjab back in a peaceful state and putting an end to separatists. The militants who planted the bomb were later arrested.

7. Chandrashekhar Prasad

Death: March 31, 1997

Chandrashekhar Prasad came to Siwan to join the CPI-ML after he finished his studies in Delhi's Jayawaharlal Nehru University. He was shot dead on March 31 while addrssing a rally in Siwan.

It was alleged that he was shot dead on RJD leader Mohammed Shahbuddin's instructions who was a member of parliament and local 'dabangg' from Siwan.

Prasad's death was followed by nationwide protests by pro-Left students. During one of the protests in Delhi, students were even openly fired at by Sadhu Yadav, the brother-in-law of Lalu Prasad, then Chief Minister of Bihar.

8. Phoolan Devi

Death: July 25, 2001

The dreaded dacoit of Chambal, Phoolan Devi had a meteoric rise in her career when she was elected member of Parliament on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Mirzapur, UP. Notorious for the Behmai massacre of 22 persons belonging to Thakur caste in 1981, she surrendered and was kept in jail for 11 years, after which the state government withdrew all cases lodged against her.

Belonging to the mallah (boatmen) caste and born at Ghura Ka Purwah of Jalaun district in UP, Phoolan Devi was booked under at least 48 heinous crimes. She was released before the completion of her sentence on the promise of good behavior and all the cases were withdrawn by Uttar Pradesh government in 1994.

She entered politics and became MP from Mirzapur. She was however murdered in cold blood in 2001 by Sher Singh Rana, Dheeraj Rana and Rajbir right outside her official house in New Delhi. All the three prime accused were later arrested. Nobody knows who was the main conspirator behind Phoolan's murder.

9. Abdul Ghani Lone

Death: May 21st, 2002

A lawyer by profession, Abdul Ghani Lone was a prominent Kashmiri separatist. He was shot dead in the presence of tight security and a huge crowd of almost five thousand people. Shockingly, the two people who open fired at Lone were in police uniform and threw hand grenades before fleeing.

Initially, he was a supporter of militancy but later he reformed and simmered down his attitude towards militancy. He vouched for Kashmir as an independent state. He did not wished for India or Pakistan's interference in ruling the state. His demands for independent Kashmir made him meet his ill-fate. He was assassinated on the anniversary of Mirwaiz Maulvi Mohammad Farooq, which is believed to be done to convey a message to let militancy prevail in Kashmir valley without any disruptions.

He had survived an attack in 1996. However, his son Sajjad Lone holds both India and Pakistan responsible for his father's assassination.

10. Haren Pandya

Death: 2003

Gujarat's home minister Haren Pandya was found dead in his car in Ahemdabad after he went for a morning walk. The conditions prevailing at the crime scene indicated towards a shoot out. His murdered resulted in shockwaves across Gujarat.

Questions were raised over Haren Pandya's security measures. Conspiracy theorists named some politicians and a bureaucrat for having a hand behind his murder. All the twelve people who were accused and arrested , were later acquitted by the court.

Haren Pandya was present at the meeting of ministers at chief minister Narendra Modi's residence in 2002 soon after the Godhra train carnage. His trusted police officer Sanjiv Bhatt had alerted him towards a threat to his life.

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