It all started with the detention of a Maldives lady, Mariam Rashida, in Oct 1994, on allegations of outstaying her visa, which led to the surprising detention of Narayanan, the head of the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) cryogenic research lab, his assistant, and many other people. The plot develops from the dark convergence of two distinct subterranean channels.
The first one was Narayanan’s involvement in ISRO’s cryogenic motor program. After perfecting the PSLV, Indian space scientists set their sights on another goal: a more advanced aircraft capable of transporting cargo to geosynchronous polar orbit.
This Geosynchronous Satellite Launch System (GSLV) will be the crowning achievement of India’s launch vehicle expertise. India has reached the limitations of the earlier Vikas engine, which was being derived from the French motor, only with PSLV. What has been now required was indeed a cryogenic motor to fuel the spacecraft’s third phase.
In 1990, India secured a contract for the motor well with Russian organization Glavkosmos, which included industrial development. After the fall of the Soviet Union, though, the US launched an attempt to stymie India’s missile and nuclear ambitions. Internationally, it advocated for the NPT to be extended indefinitely and the start of discussions upon on Extensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Agreement. In terms of India, it attempted to bind India to the “freeze, cap, and roll back” agreement with Pakistan.
So it accomplished in guaranteeing that the contract for INS Chakra nuclear submarine wasn’t really maintained, and ultimately, it coerced Russia into cancelling the cryogenic motor agreement. As a result, ISRO would have to break out by itself, which it has done in April 1994 by developing the prototype with their star liquid propulsion scientist, Narayanan.
The second perspective had Kerala’s perennially tricky governance. The rivalry involving Congress members K. Karunakaran and A.K. Antony was among the most lasting. However, to the Crisis in 1977, Karunakaran’s tenure as chief minister was overshadowed. Antony, the 37-year-old young kid prodigy, took his position. Karunakaran became chief minister again for 3rd with in the early 1980s, and then with the 4th straight in June 1991, following a short term in office.
The Antony group resented it and was continually looking for methods to bring him down. Before Rashida’s detention, S. Vijayan, the officer in charge of immigrants, reportedly solicited her for sexual attention and finally detained her when she refused. In an act of vengeance, he intended to blame her for spying.
Meanwhile, several tops and aspiring Kerala policemen loyal to Antony and Oommen Chandy, a Congress politician who has had a falling out along with Karunakaran, viewed Rashida’s detention as an opportunity to disgrace the IG policeman allied to Karunakaran, Raman Srivastava.
Twist In The Case
As a result, the story was handed a dark twist. Within just a month after Rashida’s detention, Narayanan’s subordinate D. Sasikumaran, K. Chandrashekhar, a consultant of the Russian space agency Glavkosmos, S.K. Sharma, a manpower provider, and Fauziyya Hassan, Rashida’s Maldives acquaintance, were all detained. Narayanan got detained 2 weeks later, on November 30, 1994.
The cops spun a fantastical web of fabrication and speculation within the press, saying that Narayanan and Sasikumaran were ensnared in some kind of a sex scam comprising Maldivians and it had handed them confidential ISRO documents.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB) controversially led the Kerala cops into its espionage path, which even the former weakly accepted. Only after the CBI examined the material in December did they discover that the legal thing was a fabrication and also that the individuals were also being entrapped. Within such a month of their detention, the CBI inquiry revealed that there had been no substance to the charge.
Nonetheless, the matter lingered on due to involvement with Kerala politicians. Even though Narayanan and Sasikumaran were granted bail in Jan, Karunakaran was pushed out of power in March 1995 by the Antony group. Rashida was really only pardoned in 1998 when others were imprisoned for much more.
The CBI ultimately prepared a paper even before senior sessions judge in May 1996, stating that the espionage allegation was fraudulent but there was no evidence to substantiate the accusations. The court recognized the evidence and acquitted all of the defendants.
However, the newly elected CPI(M) administration prefers to play one’s own version, ordering more investigations until, in May 1998, the Supreme Court dismissed the Kerala govt’s request for a new probe. Ever since the Kerala administrations have shielded the corrupt policemen and have been slow to provide the damages imposed by the High Court as well as the National Human Rights Commission.
As a result, Narayanan filed a lawsuit in April 2017 to begin court prosecutions against all the cops who reportedly manufactured proof about him. In terms of cryogenic motors, India plainly lacked the necessary expertise. Only Under the influence, the endeavour to obtain this from the Soviet Union had failed.
And Narayanan had only been selected as the leader of a committee tasked with developing it. As a result, charging someone for providing something that didn’t even exist makes absolutely no sense.
Role of IB and United States
When it comes to the IB, there will always be wheels inside wheels. This one was obvious in a following (and fraudulent) espionage investigation foisted on innocent individuals by the IB, commonly recognized as the NSCS spy case of 2006. The IB’s business interests may well have been engaged at the moment: they sought to prevent the NSCS from seizing over what became the NATGRID. So the final option is that the US indeed have a part, although through renegade forces inside the IB.
They were apparent in their opposition to the selling of cryogenic expertise to India. However, after ISRO decided to proceed, they intended to sabotage Indian attempts by interrupting the Indian program. It should be emphasised that Nambi Narayanan seemed to have no connections with Rashida, Fauzia, or anyone else other than Sasikumaran, who may well have acquainted the ladies.
Nonetheless, he was presented as the episode’s central protagonist. And, obviously, he became India’s foremost expert in liquid locomotion.
Motive of United States
The United States considers the long-term strategy. This is why it established the Missile Technology Control Regime, the establishment of which was exposed only soon afterwards India performed the very first Prithvi test in 1987. Even though cryogenic equipment is bulky and therefore has no actual military purposes, it is capable of supplying rockets possible to reach the United States.
The United States is what it is because of excessive caution. It is worth noting that the United States only became concerned about North Korea when the latter proved its capacity to launch a missile capable of reaching the United States in July 2017. What matters to the United States is capacity, not who owns it.