'Scientist was forced to resign from Isro'

'Scientist was forced to resign from Isro'

It seems trouble began at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) soon after K Radhakrishnan took over as the chairman and the possibility of a move to ‘deal’ with the now blacklisted scientists also started then.

Within two months of Radhakrishnan becoming the chairman, the then scientific secretary and one of the blacklisted scientists –– A Bhaskaranarayana –– was forced to resign.

Still baffled by the kind of treatment meted out to him and three other scientists, former Isro chairperson Madhavan G Nair’s new revelation has the potential to put K Radhakrishnan’s image at stake, given the present situation.

Just a day after Nair hinted at deeper conspiracies involved in the “whistle-blowing” of and investigations into the $300 million Antrix-Devas deal and Radhakrishnan’s probable role, he told Deccan Herald: “Radhakrishnan had decided to sack Bhaskaranarayana as he had failed to ‘fall in line’.”

It is believed that Bhaskaranarayana, one of the four scientists banned by the Centre from taking any kind of re-employment in government institutions, had resigned from his post about two years ago.

However, Madhavan Nair, letting the cat out of the bag, made public what he terms the mysterious ways in which Radhakrishnan and the Isro have been working ever since he took over and said: “...Bhaskara was forced to resign.”

‘Persuasions failed’

“The truth is that Bhaskara sent in his resignation letter under a lot of pressure to keep his integrity and honour intact. Persuasions had failed. The decision to sack him and the letter to this effect would have reached Bhaskara the same day he resigned... thereby, he sent in his resignation an hour before he could be ‘fired’,” Nair said.

Repeated attempts by Deccan Herald to contact Radhakrishnan failed even on Tuesday.

One of his secretaries told this reporter: “I have informed the chairman that you have been trying to contact him. He is aware of it and I will put you through to him as soon as I get a clearance.”

When questioned on Radhakrishnan’s motive and rationale behind such a decision, the former Isro chairman, in a cautious tone said he would not want to comment on the matter.

External pressure

Sources said Bhaskaranarayana had quit under various circumstances and that there was no need for elaboration.

Nair, answering another question, said: “I do not know if Radhakrishanan acted by himself or if he was under pressure from some quarters,” without elaborating on who could have been pressuring him.

The other scientists –– former managing director of Antrix Corporation K R Sridharamurthi and former director of Isro Satellite Centre K Shankara –– were already out by the time Radhakrishanan took over.

While Sridharamurthi had moved to another government establishment in Delhi and finally retired last year, Shankara had retired a year before Radhakrishnan took over but was a visiting professor at Isro.

Bhaskaranarayana has never been in any government institution since his “resignation.”
Sources said he refused a few offers as he wanted to pursue something in academics.

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