Protect Indian Scientists

Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO

           Indians have every reason to be proud of ISRO, which has taken up a hundred missions and ensured its place in aviation history by lifting 104 satellites, in Feb 2017 of which 101 were foreign owned. It also depicts the expertise of ISRO and the confidence that the world community reposes in Indian technology. What is more notable is that the launch was from Sriharikota, in Andhra Pradesh.

           A recent article on certain setbacks to the Indian Space Agency launches has set forth a chain of negative thoughts which however need to be aired in view of their impact on National Security.

         ISRO has lost contact with Geostationary Satellite 6A over two months back. GSAT 11 has recently been recalled from French Guiana just before its launch.

       Commercial Launch market is highly competitive and ISRO costs are just half of costs by other private players. Therefore, in these days of industrial espionage and wilful sabotage, Government of India must be extremely careful on security aspects.

       The case of Dr Nambi Narayanan who was falsely accused by Kerala Police imprisoned and tortured, cannot be forgotten. “The ISRO spy case did not only finish the careers of two exceptionally talented scientists but also put India’s cryogenic engine development programme on hold for more than 19 years.” *

       Could such crass frame-ups  been possible without aid and abetment by senior politicians and bureaucrats? Individuals involved in framing up the scientists and derailing Indian Cryogenic efforts have got away free.

     The recent Antrix ISRO case involving officers of ISRO is subjudice. But can one say today, that it is not another case foisted on ISRO officials to demoralise its officers and staff and derail any initiatives by scared executives?

      Not to be forgotten, there was a mole in the cabinet of Indira Gandhi in 1971. There are many individuals with ideologies, that owe their birth and sustenance to external sources. Attacks on our country need not necessarily be of the Kashmir or Pathankot variety; but also by internal sabotage ,  through misinformation and derailing systems.

      Indian scientists are dedicated and should be protected from extraneous pressures and free to channelize all efforts to achieving the goals of their organisations, instead of looking over their shoulder all the while fearing frame-ups.

ED

Posted on May 12, 2018

Despite his distinguished career at ISRO where he headed the cryogenics division, falsified charges of espionage have dented reputation of scientist Nambi Narayanan, observed the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, heading the bench hearing his plea said that the state of Kerala must pay a remuneration of Rs. 60 lakh or Rs. 75 lakh to the former scientist.

The Bench is also looking at a possibility of re-investigation into the role of then SIT officers who had framed the former scientist. The court also said that the officers involved in the investigation will have to pay from their own pockets.

Dr Narayanan was arrested in November 1994 by the Kerala Police on espionage allegations under sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Indian Official Secrets Act, 1923. He was remanded to police custody for 50 days where he was allegedly tortured by officials of Kerala Police and Intelligence Bureau of India and his statements were obtained allegedly under duress. The Police claimed that he had passed on rocket technology and cryogenic technology to some other countries for illegal gratification. However, on the investigation by the CBI, the charges were found to be false and the findings of the CBI were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1998.   

Details of the case

On 20th October 1994, Mariam Rasheeda, a Maldives native was the first one to be arrested for overstaying in Kerala. She was found to be connected to D Sasikumar, an ISRO scientist. Later, her friend, Fauzia Hassan was also arrested. A special investigation team formed on 15th November 1994 headed by DGP Siby Mathews took over the case and arrested Nambi Narayanan, Chandrasekharan and SK Sharam who were businessmen based in Bengaluru accusing them of selling ISRO’s cryogenic programme secrets to the women who were allegedly acting as spies for Russia, ISI and others.

The case was handed over to the CBI on 28th November 1994. The final report submitted by the CBI in April 1996 said that the case lacked evidence to substantiate the charges and all six were finally acquitted by the court.

Narayanan introduced the liquid rocket fuel technology in India in the early 70’s and was the first to build a successful 600-kg liquid motor engine and went on making even bigger one. He and his team also developed the ‘Vikas engine’ which was used in Indian’s moon mission. The ISRO spy case did not only finish the careers of two exceptionally talented scientists but also put India’s cryogenic engine development programme on hold for more than 19 years.

 

 

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