Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan on Monday reiterated before the Kerala High Court that India could have developed a cryogenic engine by 2000 if indiscriminate arrests had not been made by Siby Mathews, former ADGP and head of the SIT of the Kerala Police which initially investigated the ISRO espionage case.

Mr. Narayanan and all others arraigned as accused in the case had been discharged on basis of a CBI report that the allegations were found to be false.

In a reply affidavit to an affidavit filed by Mr. Mathews in the High Court, Mr.Narayanan said it was true that India had not been able to successfully launch a cryogenic engine till today, though recently ISRO had attempted it. It could be seen from the case diary of the Kerala Police, as explained by the CBI in its refer report, that all those working on cryogenic engine development in ISRO and Russian scientists who supported India and the Russian private airline (Ural Aviation) had been made accused. Ural Aviation was the airline which brought Russian cryogenic engines and other relevant items to India for the ISRO, he said.

Mr. Narayanan reiterated that Mr. Mathews had a definite plan that all persons working for development of cryogenic engine technology should be arrested to demoralise them. That was the reason why he was arrested in November 1994 without conducting any search of his office or residence and also without seizure of any incriminating evidence from him.

He said he did not earlier raise the allegation that his arrest was part of an agenda of the U.S. accomplished by the CIA conniving with Intelligence Bureau officials, Mr. Mathews and other Kerala police officials because he realised the agenda and criminal conspiracy only later when he himself investigated the entire episode once again.

Then he realised the fact that one Rattan Sehgal, who was the counter intelligence chief of the IB and was associated with the ISRO case investigation, was caught red-handed by the then IB chief Arun Bhagath.

He was accused of having worked for the CIA, which led to his unceremonious exit from the IB in November 1996.

The ISRO espionage case was investigated by a team of seven senior IPS officers of the CBI. These officers individually and collectively conducted the investigation /interrogation and filed the final report of the CBI, against the Kerala police officials and Intelligence Bureau officers who investigated the case.

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