Over two decades back, a spy scandal rose in Kerala that involved two space scientists, two foreign women, sex and rocket secrets that could pose big “threat” to India’s national security. However, it took four years’ of tortuous trial for the scientists to come out clean, when the Supreme Court gave them a clean shit, rubbishing all claims of the Kerala state police.
The GSLV-II can carry double the capacity of ISRO‘s present rockets, propelled by the C-20 engine. S Nambinarayan, the ex-director who pioneered ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems, believes that India would have achieved this milestone more than a decade back, had he not been framed in the “ISRO spying case” that had rocked the nation in 1994.
The rocket scientist introduced the liquid fuel technology in the 80s… As a project director of the newly-launched indigenous project, he worked on the development of propulsion systems of ISRO’s GSLV mission. In 1991, Nambi Narayan signed a deal with Glavkosmos, the Russians space agency, and a deal to transfer of a cryogenic propulsion system.
However, Glavkosmos was pressurised in 1993 by the US not to go with the deal, for America feared India might make big progress in the space engineering. In November 1994, Nambi Narayan and his colleague was arrested for selling ISRO’s secrets to Pakistan with the aid of two women spies from the Maldives.
And the scientist was suspended from his job.
Narayan was thrown into prison for 50 days. The scandal had Maldivian women that added spice, and tongues started wagging that Nambi Narayan had sold his soul and documents in exchange for sex and money. It took the CBI 18 months took to find that the scientist was caught up in a spy case that never had happened in the first place.
Now, Nambi Narayan says he was implicated in a false case, an agenda of the US, which wanted to derail the project, and the Information Bureau and Kerala police were complicit in the US’s effort. All the espionage story was absolutely sham.
Two years later Nambi Narayan was arrested; the CBI took over the case, and found that the ISRO director was falsely implicated in this case. The same year, a joint director of the IB was dismissed for working with the CIA.
Nambinarayan was cleared in 1998 by the Supreme Court, and subsequently by the National Human Rights Commission in 1999. It took six full years for the scientist to clear his name of a case that he never was part of…
Although he was cleared, there were a few pieces that still didn’t fit. The CBI closed the case with the comment that the ISRO spy case was false. What they didn’t do was dig deeper to know the reasons that was behind this ISRO case.
If there was no case at all, who cooked up such a fantastic tale and why… Nambinarayanan said that he suspected a larger conspiracy, that it was the US who wanted India to stall its rocket project. Going by America’s political interference, it’s not unlikely that they planted a few stooges to derail the whole process, for it took ISRO 20 years to get back on track with GLSV.