Kochi: India could have developed a cryogenic engine by the year 2000 if “indiscriminate” arrests had not been made in the ISRO espionage case by those who investigated it initially, former space scientist Nambi Narayanan told the Kerala High Court.
Narayanan, who was arrested and later released in the espionage case, informed the court yesterday that the special police team led by former ADGP Sibi Mathews, which had initially probed the case, had planned to arrest all those working for the development of cryogenic engine to ‘demoralise' them and stall development in the specialised area.
Narayanan, who had approached the court seeking action against Mathews, presently Chief Information Commissioner, and two other officers, was responding to the reply affidavit of the former police officer.
While admitting that India has not been able to successfully launch a cryogenic engine till date, he said recently ISRO had attempted it but had to postpone it just an hour and 48 minutes before its official launch.
Narayanan's counsel submitted that all those working in the line of cryogenic development in ISRO and Russian scientists, who supported India and the Russian Private Airline (Ural Aviation), were made the accused.
The Ural Aviation was the airline which brought Russian Cryogenic engines and other relevant materials for ISRO, it was stated.
Pointing that Mathews had a ‘definite plan', Narayanan claimed he was arrested in November 1994 without conducting any search at his office or home and no incriminating documentary evidence was seized from him.
He also stated that he had not raised the allegation that his arrest was part of a US agenda accomplished by CIA as he realised the agenda only later.
Sibi Mathews, in his affidavit, had earlier stated that Narayanan's plea seeking action against the three police officers, including him, was only to tarnish his image.