The Sahai Commission, which is looking into the possibility of Gumnami Baba being Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, has been told that President Pranab Mukherjee had visited the baba in the 1980s.
At the time, President Mukherjee was the Minister of Commerce and Steel & Mines in the Congress government.
In his admission before the commission, deponent Ravindra Shukla said that he accompanied Mukherjee without knowing that the latter was a minister to a market on the instructions of Gumnami Baba.
Quoting him, TOI reports: “It was around 1981-82 when I was instructed by Bhagwanji to accompany a Bengali gentleman to the local market. The Bengali gentleman was staying at Ayodhya’s Birla Dharamshala. I ferried the gentleman on my Yezdi motorcycle to Chowk area of Faizabad, where he purchased clothes and some dry fruits.”
Shukla added that he dropped off the “Bengali gentleman” at the Birla Dharmashala. He says that he was able to identify the man as Pranab Mukherjee at a later.
Ravindra Shukla, now 57, is one of the 13 people who were at Gumnami Baba’s funeral at Guptaar Ghat. He was only 23 at the time when President Mukherjee may have visited the baba.
He reportedly deposed before the commission on Tuesday in Faizabad. The Sahai Commission has been set up by the Uttar Pradesh government to find out whether the baba was indeed Netaji as is claimed by many.