Ex- scientist, scalded by ISRO scandal, asks for fresh probe

Ex- scientist, scalded by ISRO scandal, asks for fresh probe

Former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan, falsely implicated in the 1994 espionage case has revived his call for a fresh probe into the case.

Speaking here on Thursday after releasing his biography Ormmakalude Bhramanapadham(The Orbit of Memories), Narayanan said re-investigation is crucial to understand the role of forces outside the country.

Authored by journalist G Prajesh Sen, the book describes grueling physical torture Narayanan underwent, but the 76-year-old scientist said he has moved on from the humiliation and now awaits answers to many important questions.

“The CBI said it was a fabricated story. If so, who fabricated it? What was their motive? We need fresh investigation to expose that,” Narayanan said. “I’ve lost a lot that can’t be recovered, but there will, at least, be satisfaction that the actual culprits are not allowed to go free.”

Narayanan was director of the space agency’s cryogenic project when the scandal broke. He and a few others were accused of handing over vital details of the project to Pakistan through two women from Maldives and had contacts in Sri Lanka.

In 1996, the CBI -which took over the case from the Special Investigation Team- reported that the case was fabricated. Two years later, the Supreme Court turned down the State Government’s move to re-open the case. Narayanan, however, still awaits closure.

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, who released the book, said the scandal had reduced the career of the distinguished scientist to ignominy and he was left to wait for justice.

Tharoor said while Narayanan deserved a collective forgiveness, his story was also a cautionary tale – “If this happened to a good man, it could happen to anyone”.

Narayanan, while acknowledging the role of local political interests and media sensationalism in fuelling the scandal, never ruled out the possibility of an international conspiracy.

His suspicions of a bigger conspiracy stems from the fact that the scandal had delayed India’s progress in developing cryogenic engines by at least 15 years. He has, in the past, traced the case to a CIA-backed conspiracy which investigating officials were part of.

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