Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan submitted before the Kerala High Court that the police officials, who had initially probed the espionage case had planned the arrest of all persons working for the development of Cryogenic engine technology to demoralise the agency and to stall its developmental activities in the specialised area.
Nambi submitted that a cryogenic engine could have been developed in the year 2000, if indiscriminate arrests had not been made made by Siby Mathew, former ADGP. “It is a true fact that India could not successfully launch Cryogenic engine till today, though recently ISRO attempted the same and postponed it just 1 hour 48 minutes prior to its official launch. It could be seen from the case diary of the Kerala Police, as explained by the CBI in its refer report, that all those persons who were 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 items to India for the ISRO,” C Unnikrishnan, Counsel for Nambi submitted.
In a reply statement, filed in response to an affidavit by Siby Mathew, Narayanan stated that he was arrested on November 30, 1994, without any search and seizure of any incriminating evidence. The arrest, according to him was made after Siby Mathew had sent a report to the government, recommending the handing over of the investigation to the CBI.
He pointed out that he did not earlier raise the allegation that his arrest was a part of an US agenda accomplished by the CIA, in connivance with the officials of the IB, Siby Mathew and others, because he realised the agenda only later, when he himself investigated the entire episode. Then he realised the fact that Rattan Sehgal, the then Counter Intelligence Chief of IB, who was also associated with the ISRO case, was caught red-handed by the then IB Chief Arun Bhagath. Rattan was accused of having worked for the CIA and this finally led to his unceremonious exit from the IB in November 1996.
The ISRO espionage case was investigated by a consortium of seven senior IPS officers of CBI and they individually and collectively conducted investigation/interrogation. They also contributed the final report of the CBI including the Ext.P1 report against respondents 4 to 6 and also against IB officers who investigated the case. Siby contended that the attempt of the petitioner was to tarnish his image and claimed that he is an upright and highly placed officer. As a matter of fact his image was already tarnished by the findings of the CBI, Judgment of the Supreme Court and proceedings of the NHRC .