New twist to two-decade-old Isro spy case

New twist to two-decade-old Isro spy case

Ex-officer suspects Narasimha Rao scripted and sabotaged the case

The nearly two-decade-old Isro espionage case continues to haunt the Congress with a retired state police officer, who investigated the case, expressing suspicion that the late former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had sabotaged the case.

A section of senior Congress leaders supporting Karunakaran’s son alleged that the case was conspired by Rao and demanded that state police officers who investigated the case be brought to books.

S Vijayan, who retired as superintendent of police last year, told a local TV channel that he had a strong suspicion that Narashimha Rao had intervened in the case when the investigation was progressing well and as a result, all the accused in the case were acquitted.

He alleged that Rao, who visited Thiruvananthapuram for a party function, stayed at Raja Bhavan for the night. Hereafter, the investigation went off the track.
“It should be investigated why he stayed at Raj Bhavan on the day and who had met him,’’ he said.

He alleged that Rao had come to the State capital at a time when it was being heard that a person close to him would be arrested soon in connection with the case.

Vijayan, who was inspector, Special Branch, when the alleged the crime took place, registered the case. He said initially the case had been registered under the Official Secret Act against two top Isro scientists Nambi Narayanan and D Sasikumar and two Maldivian women Mariam Rasheeda and Fauzia Hassan for their constant interaction and meetings. The espionage angle was found by the Central Intelligence Bureau.

The State later transferred the case to CBI, which found that it was totally cooked up the case and there was not an even iota of truth in the charges. The agency even recommended action against the state’s three-member SIT comprising Siby Mathws, (then DIG crime) K K Joshwa (then DySP)  and Vijayan. The Supreme Court exonerated all the accused.

The then chief minister K. Karunakaran had to resign on the party high command’s conclusion that he had failed to suspend senior IPS officer Raman Srivastava who was very loyal to him. According to investigation, Srivastava had illicit relations with the Maldivian women. Karunakaran’s son K  Muraleedharan, MLA, said that he understood that Rao conspired to topple his father.

“At the time of the Isro spy case, we, the MPs belonging to the Kauranakran group, explained the issue to Rao. Then the prime minister told us he could not understand the case. But a few days later, a senior Congress leader told me there is no way but my father has to resign as the prime minister is very adamant,’’ he said. He alleged that the whole episode was scripted by a few Congress leaders and police officials and demanded action against the cops.

Senior Congress leader and former Meghalaya governor M M Jacob on Saturday said Defence Minister A K Antony had a major role in the plot. He (Antony) was always under the impression that he was second in command in party in the state and he should be elevated to the chief minister post vacated by Karunakaran. It happened all the time.    
“So I have written to the central and state leadership of the party to look into the request of Muraleedharan,’’ he said.

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