Catch the saboteurs of key space programme
Catch the saboteurs of key space programme

When a police officer barged into Room 205 of Hotel Samrat in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram on October 20, 1994, it turned out to be a set of far-reaching events that would impact not only individual lives but also the growth of space science of the country. In what was to be known as ISRO espionage case later, the head of the ISRO's cryogenic project, Nambi Narayanan, was sacked and this went on to hit the cryogenic project adversely for several years to come. 

Recently, the Apex Court threw out the charges of espionage and ordered a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Narayanan for the ignominy and immense humiliation he has suffered. 

The court set up a committee headed by one of its former judges to find out ways and means to take appropriate steps against the erring police personnel who allegedly named Nambi Narayanan in the case. Nambi Narayanan said he was partly satisfied with the order. Whether the committee will complete the inquiry within a fixed a time frame is not known as no such deadline was set for it. 

However, the Apex Court order did not say whether all would be probed or not. The role of officials of the Intelligence Bureau cannot be ruled out in the case. The role of media too was there which blindly lapped up the sensational details, as the police called it. The committee set up by the SC should also find out who all were behind it and why. 

The role of police apart IB officials also is important because the CBI has detailed the role played by those in its secret report to the Centre. This case must not be treated as just any other spy case reported so far. This was a plan hatched by certain interests, perhaps internally as well as externally to stall India's progress in cryogenic engines. Who were all behind it and which were these countries which played their roles and who was to benefit with India lagging in the technology must also be probed. Above all, who contacted whom in the powers-that-be then to cripple the ISRO must also be probed by the committee set up now. 

The case affected our national interest and set the Indian space programme behind by decades. It would be naive to believe that the case was foisted by someone stupidity alone. The fabrication of the case and its subsequent misuse by the politicians resulted in ISRO's programmes including efforts to master the cryogenic engine technology offered by the Russians which is being used in the GSLV rockets now was affected. 

It caused humiliation not just to us but also to those Russians working with us. Each and every one arrested along with Nambi must be compensated and the families tendered apology. There was Sasikumar and K Chandrashekhar (who is no more), the Indian representative of the Russian agency Glavkosmos, S K Sharma, a businessman (terminally ill now), Marian Rasheeda and Fousiya Hasan, both Maldivians...all must be told India's is ashamed of the case. Whoever worked against Indian interests must be nailed, without fail soon. 


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