Charges Framed against Savarkar and other accused

Background (extracted verbatim from Printed Record of Mahatma Gandhi Murder case Volume III; Judgement of the Special Judge, Red Fort, Delhi):  On 30 January 1948, at around 5.00 p.m., Mahatma Gandhi, as usual,  was proceeding to the prayer-platform behind Birla House, New Delhi when he was assassinated.  The following were accused in what is known as the Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case:

 

  1. Nathuram V. Godse
  2. Narayan D. Apte
  3. Vishnu R. Karkare
  4. Madanlal K. Pahwa
  5. Shankar Kistayya
  6. Gopal V. Godse
  7. Vinayak D. Savarkar
  8. Dattatraya S. Parchure
  9. Gangadhar S. Dandawate
  10. Gangadhar Jadhav
  11. Suryadeo Sharma

 

Digambar R. Badge turned approver

 

A Special Court was constituted under notification No. 54/1/48-Political, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 4-5-48, u/ss 10 and 11 of the Bombay Public Security Measures Act, 1947, as extended to the Province of Delhi, and the case was made over to the Court for trial, under notification No. 54/1/48-Political, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 13-5-48.  Mr. Atma Charan, Esq., I.C.S. was appointed Special judge.  The Court held its sittings in a hall on the upper storey of a building in the Red Fort. Nathuram V. Godse, Narayan D. Apte, Vishnu R. Karkare, Digambar R. Badge, Madanlal K. Pahwa, Shankar Kistayya, Gopal V. Godse and Vinayak D. Savarkar, who were present at Bombay , and Dattatraya S. Parchure, who was then at Gwalior, were all brought to Delhi before the commencement of the trial, and were lodged in the Red Fort in a specially selected area, which was declared to be a ‘prison’ under notification No. 54/6/48-Political, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 15-5-48.

 

The charge-sheet against the accused was submitted to the Court on 27-5-1948.  A summary of the main prosecution evidence was furnished to the defence by the prosecution before the commencement of the trial before the Court.  Digambar R. Badge was tendered a pardon on 21-6-1948.  The prosecution filed the sanction of the District Magistrate, dated 18-5-1948, u/s 29 of the Indian Arms Act, the sanction of the Central Government, dated 26-5-1948, u/s 7 of the Explosive Substances Act and the sanction of the Central Government, dated 18-6-1948, u/s 188 of the Cr.P.C., on 22-6-1948.  The charges were then read out and explained to the accused.  The accused pleaded ‘not guilty’ and pleaded to be tried.

 

Mr. C.K.Daphtary, Advocate-General of Bombay, appeared as Chief Public Prosecutor, and was assisted by Messers. N.K. Petigara, M.G. Vyavaharkar, J.C. Shah and Jwala Prasad.  Savarkar was represented by Messers. L.B. Bhopatkar, Jumnadas Mehta, Ganpat Rai, K.L. Bhopatkar, B. Banerji, J.P. Mitter and N.P. Aiyer

 

Although u/s 13(2) of the Bombay Public Security Measures Act extended to the Province of Delhi only a memorandum of the substance of the evidence was required to be recorded by the court, but at the request of all the accused and their counsel and with the approval of the counsel for the prosecution, a complete record of the evidence was maintained in English for the convenience of all concerned.

 

The recording of the prosecution evidence began on 24-6-1948 and continued till 6-11-1948.  The prosecution produced in all 149 witnesses, and their evidence consists of 720 pages.  The prosecution brought on the record of the case 404 documentary exhibits and 80 material exhibits.

 

The recording of the statements of the accused began on 8-11-1948, and continued till 22-11-1948, and their statements consist of 106 pages.  All the accused except Shankar Kistayya filed written statements and their written statements consists of 297 pages.  The defence through the prosecution witnesses brought on the record of the case 119 documentary exhibits.  The accused were asked whether they meant to adduce evidence in defence.  All of them declined to adduce any evidence either in rebuttal of the prosecution evidence or in support of the allegations made by them.

 

The hearing of the arguments began on 1-12-48 and continued till 30-12-48.  Nathuram V. Godse argued his own case.  Mr. P.R. Das of Patna argued the case on behalf of Vinayak D. Savarkar.

 

Charges framed against Savarkar (extracted verbatim from Printed Record of Mahatma Gandhi Murder case Volume III; Judgement of the Special Judge, Red Fort, Delhi): 

 

On the prosecution version of the story, the following charges were framed against the accused:-

                                                            I.- FIRSTLY

That you-

 

            NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE, VINAYAK D. SAVARKAR AND DATTATRAYA S. PARCHURE between December 1, 1947 and January 30, 1948, at Poona, Bombay, Delhi and other places agreed and conspired among and between yourselves and Digambar R. Badge who has been tendered a pardon, Gangadhar S. Dandavate, Gangadhar Jadhav and Suryadeo Sharma, who along with others not known are absconding, to do or cause to be done an illegal act viz., to commit the murder of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi more popularly known as ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ and the same act viz., the murder of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ was done in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy at Delhi on January 30, 1948, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12-0 B of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

                                                II- SECONDLY

 

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 10, 1948, and January 20, 1948, you,

 

            NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE along with Digambar R. Badge -

 

A (1) transported without a licence to Delhi arms and ammunition viz., 2 revolvers with cartridges, in contravention of the provisions of Section 10 of the Indian Arms act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(d) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

    (2) abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(d) of the Indian Arms Act read with Sections 109 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, and within the cognizance of the Court.

 

B (1) at Delhi, had without a licence in your possession and under your control arms and ammunition, viz., 2 revolvers with cartridges, in contravention of the provisions of Section 14 and 15 of the Indian Arms Act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

    (2) at Delhi, abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act read with Sections 109 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

                                                III-THIRDLY

 

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 10, 1948, and January 20, 1948, at Delhi you

 

            NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE along with Digambar R. Badge -

 

A (1) had in your possession and under your control explosive substances, viz., 2 gun-cotton-slabs and 5 hand-grenades with detonators and wicks, with intent to endanger life by means thereof or to enable any other person to endanger life by means thereof and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 4(b) of the Explosive Substances Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

(2)    abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 4(b) of the Explosive Substances Act read with Section 6 of the Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

B (1) had in your possession and under your control explosive substances, viz., 2 gun-cotton-slabs and 5 hand-grenades with detonators and wicks, under such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that you did not have them in your possession or under your control for a lawful object and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

    (2) abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act read with Section 6 of the Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

 

                                                IV-FOURTHLY

 

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 10, 1948, and January 20, 1948, at Delhi you

 

 

A (1) MADAN LAL K. PAHWA - Unlawfully and maliciously caused an explosive substance viz., a gun cotton-slab, to explode, which explosion was of a nature likely to endanger life and to cause serious injury to property and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

   (2) NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE -along with Digambar R. Badge

 

abetted Madanlal K. Pahwa in the commission of the above offence  and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act read with Section 6 of the Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

 

                                                         V - FIFTHLY

 

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy on January 20, 1948, at the Birla House, Delhi, you  NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE, VISHNU R.KARKARE, MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE, VINAYAK D. SAVARKAR -along with Digambar R. Badge

 

  abetted each other in the commission of an offence viz., to commit the murder of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ which offence is punishable with death or transportation for life and which offence was not committed in consequence of the abetment and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 115 of the Indian Penal Code read with section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

 

                                                VI- SIXTHLY

 

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy between January 28, 1948, and January 30, 1948, you

 

A (1) NATHURAM V. GODSE  AND  NARAYAN D. APTE  - brought without a licence from Gwalior to Delhi arms and ammunition, viz., Automatic Pistol No. 606824 with cartridges, in contravention of Section 6 of the Indian Arms Act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(c) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

(2)    NATHURAM V. GODSE, NARAYAN D. APTE  AND  DATTATRAYA S. PARCHURE -abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(c) of the Indian Arms Act read with Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

B (1) NATHURAM V. GODSE - at Delhi, had in your possession and under your control arms and ammunition, viz., Automatic Pistol No. 606824 with cartridges, in contravention of Sections 14 and 15 of the Indian Arms Act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

 (2)  NARAYAN D. APTE  AND  VISHNU  R.  KARKARE  at Delhi, abetted each other in the commission of the above offence and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19(f) of the Indian Arms Act read with Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court;

 

 

                                              VII.- SEVENTHLY

 

That in pursuance of the said agreement and conspiracy on January 30, 1948, at the Birla House, Delhi you  A (1) NATHURAM V. GODSE did commit murder by intentionally and knowingly causing the death of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court; (2) NARAYAN D. APTE  AND  VISHNU  R.  KARKARE abetted Nathuram V. Godse in the commission of the above offence, which offence was committed in your presence, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court; (3) MADANLAL K. PAHWA, SHANKAR KISTAYYA, GOPAL V. GODSE, VINAYAK D. SAVARKAR AND DATTATRAYA S. PARCHURE along with Digambar R. Badge abetted Nathuram V. Godse in the commission of the above offence, which offence was committed in your presence, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code and within the cognizance of the Court.  The accused pleaded ‘not guilty’ and ‘claimed to be tried’.  Dattatraya S. Parchure further pleaded that he was a subject of the Gwalior State and that, as such, he was not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Court. 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT  OF  VINAYAK  D. SAVARKAR, U/S  364  OF THE   Cr.  P.C.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Hindu, aged 66,

            Savarkar Sadan, Dadar, Bombay.  (English)  :-

Q. – You have heard the entire evidence produced on behalf of the prosecution as against you what have you to say ?

            A. – I file my written statement.  Note :- Vinayak D. Sarvarkar reads out his written statement the written statement is signed and dated by me.

 

            Q. – It is in evidence as below :–

About 2-3 days after the end of the first week of January 1948 Madanlal told Dr. J.C. Jain that when you heard of his (Madanlal’s) exploits at Ahmednagar you sent for him, had a long talk with him for about two hours, patted him on his back and said ‘carry on’.

            Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – This is all false.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 14th January at about 7-30 p.m. Miss Shanta B. Modak dropped Nathuram Godse and Apte opposite your house.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – I know nothing about it.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 14th January 1948 at about 9-00 p.m. Nathuram Godse and Apte went to your house with a bag said to be containing explosives.  They then left your house shortly thereafter with the bag.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A. – This is all false.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 15th January 1948 in the compound of the house of Dixitji Maharaj Apte in the presence of  Nathuram Godse told Badge that you had decided that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Suhawardy should be ‘finished’ and had entrusted that work to them.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – This is all false.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 17th January 1948 Nathuram Godse, Apte and Badge went to your house.  Nathuram Godse and Apte went upstairs, and Badge waited in the room on the groundfloor.  Nathuram Godse and Apte then came down after 5-10 minutes.  They were followed immediately by you.  You said ‘yashasvi houn ya’.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – This is altogether false.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

Apte on return from your house told those in the taxi that you had predicted that Gandhiji’s hundred years were over.  Apte than said that there was no doubt that their work would be successfully finished.

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.- I did not say any such thing to anyone at any time.  I cannot say what Apte said on his own behalf to anyone.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 19th January 1948 at about 9-20 a.m. a telephonic call was booked for Damle or Kasar from Delhi 8024 to Bombay 60201.  Damle is your Secretary and Kasar your Body-Guard.  Bombay 60201 is your telephone number at Savarkar-Sadan.

 

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – I know nothing about the booking of the telephonic call.  Damle is my Secretary and Kasar my Body-Guard.  The call, if so booked, was booked not in their official capacity but in their personal capacity.  Bombay 60201 is the telephone number of my residence.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

On 31st January 1948 a search was made of your house and a large volume of correspondence was taken possession of by the Police.  Exhibits P.87, P.88 and P. 277, P. 302 are said to be part of the correspondence so seized from your possession.  Exibits P.87 and P.88 bear the signatures of Badge. Exibits P. 277 and P. 302 bear the signatures of Nathuram Godse and/or Apte or your signature or signatures on your behalf.

 

Would you like to suggest anything ?

A.     – Yes, it is so.

 

Q. – It is in evidence as below :-

You are said to have been well acquainted with Nathuram Godse, Apte.  Karkare, Madanlal, Parchure and Badge prior to 17th January 1948.

 

Would you like to suggest anything ?

 

A.     – I was well acquainted with Nathuram Godse and Apte in their capacity as workers of the Hindu Mahasabha.  I had heard of the names of Karkare, Parchure and Badge, but did not know them personally,  I did not at all know Madanlal and had not even heard of his name.

 

Q. – You have heard the entire evidence produced on behalf of the prosecution as against you would you like to say or suggest anything more before the Court ?

 

A. – No.  I have already filed my written statement.

 

Q. – Do you want to adduce evidence in defence ?

 

A. – No.  I  do not  want to adduce evidence in defence.

 

(Sd.)      V.D. SAVARKAR.

 

                                                                                                ATMA CHARAN, I.C.S.,

                                                                                                    Judge, Special Court.

20-11-1948.

 

 

 

 

Read over, and verified as correct.

 

                                                                                               

ATMA CHARAN, I.C.S.,

                                                                                                    Judge, Special Court.

 

Certified that the examination of the accused was done in my presence and hearing and that the record contains a full and true account of the statement made by the accused.

 

                                                                                                ATMA CHARAN, I.C.S.,

                                                                                                    Judge, Special Court.

20-11-1948.

 

                                                Dated this               day of  November  1948.