ISRO Spy Case May Have Been CIA Plot to Sabotage India’s Cryogenic Progress: Former Scientist

Nambi Narayanan, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist who was falsely implicated in the infamous ISRO espionage case, released his tell-all autobiography on Wednesday. Narayanan said he suspects an involvement of US American intelligence agency CIA behind the fabrication of the case.

In his book, ‘Orbit of Memories’, the scientist also talks about his 50 days’ jail term before being acquitted by the Supreme Court in the 1994 case, where he was accused of giving away vital secrets of the Indian space agency to other countries.

Narayan alleges that the conspiracy was planned to sabotage India’s rapid progress in making cryogenic rocket and those who benefitted from it must be pulled up.

“Today we are late by 15 years in cryogenic technology and the French and the Americans are its beneficiaries. Both of them could be involved or maybe it was neither of them. An investigation is essential to find this out.”

An excerpt from the book reads: “India entered into a deal to develop cryogenic technology with Russia at a time when NASA was planning to sell the services of cryogenic rocket. France was also planning to sell it. The deal would have hurt the selling prospects and the American government tried to nullify the deal. Due to the relation between India and Russia, they agreed to give the cryogenic hardware before the deal was nullified. America has worked against our cryogenic dreams.”

Narayanan also talks about Rathan Seghal, an IB officer, and his relations with a female CIA spy in ISRO.

The book states: “This officer was the head of the investigation team of IB looking into the ISRO espionage case. He was asked to leave from service as they understood he was a CIA agent. The important thing is that Sehgal was with IB when the 1994 ISRO espionage case was investigated.”

Speaking to News18, Nambi Narayanan said that he wants a fresh investigation in the case to know who was responsible for his implication and what their motive was.

“If this was a fabricated case, somebody must have planned it. Who are they and what was their motive? You are reopening Bofors case after so many years and here is a case where the country lost billions of dollars and somebody who is responsible for this loss is enjoying his life, while a person like me who was just doing his job, is still suffering. What is more important to me is to find out the motive.”

The former ISRO scientist said that he has approached the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi several times, seeking a re-investigation in the case.

“I have been writing letters to the central government, including PM Modi, but nothing has happened so far. Before he became the PM, I met him and at that time he was sympathetic, however, nothing has happened even after three years,” Narayanan said.

The former ISRO scientist has further claimed that while the CBI in its report had said that it was a false case, nothing has been done so far.

In his autobiography, he also speaks about the torture he had to undergo at the hands of police and IB officials.

His book also names former DGP Sibi Mathews, who was the IG then.

“Police called me to say Sibi Mathews wanted to see me and I also wanted to meet him as I had heard that he was a good officer and thought that he will understand that I had nothing to do with the case. But the officer spent two and a half minutes to interrogate me. Many years later he said that he felt sorry for what happened.”

“Then chief minister Oommen chandy had taken a view that it is not legally correct to act after 11 years. I approached the court and got an order in my favour and the concerned officer too got an order in his favour. Now, the case is pending before the Supreme Court. This is related to the punishment of the Kerala police officers. No action was taken against IB officials,” said Nambi Narayanan.

He has filed a case demanding a compensation of Rs 1 crore and has been fighting in court for about 20 years.