Did the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, have a role in the “political conspiracy” that brought down K. Karunakaran from the Chief Minister’s chair in March 1995 using the “ISRO espionage” case?
The political conspiracy theory has been much discussed since the resignation of Karunakaran then, making way for A.K. Antony to occupy the Chief Minister’s post.
Karunakaran’s son and Congress leader, K. Muraleedharan, said here on Sunday that “If it is true that there was a political conspiracy, Narasimha Rao surely had a role in it.”
Mr. Muraleedharan, a former president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and now a Congress MLA, said this at a function organised here by a social organisation to tender a “public apology” to Nambi Narayanan, a former scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), who was among six persons wrongly implicated in the so-called ISRO espionage case.
Addressing the function, Mr. Muraleedharan said his father had told him that “Narasimha Rao is not a person who can be trusted.”
“I remember, in September 1994, six of us Congress MPs from Kerala had gone to meet Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to apprise him of what was happening in Kerala. P.C. Chacko [currently an MP] and Ramesh Chennithala [now MLA and KPCC president] were in the team. It was Chacko who explained the whole thing to the Prime Minister,” Mr. Muraleedharan said.
He recalled the bitter group rivalry that was going on in the Congress those days, with the anti-Karunakaran group campaigning vigorously for a “change in Karunakaran’s style of functioning” as the Chief Minister of Kerala. He said the “ISRO espionage case” hit the headlines at such a juncture.
“We, available Karunakaran group MPs, explained to him everything. At the end of 30 minutes, Narasimha Rao told us that he did not understand what we were saying,” Mr. Muraleedharan said.
He said that a week afterwards, the Congress leader G.K. Mooppanar took him aside and said he could not convey the news to Karunakaran, but the decision of the party high command was that Karunakaran should resign. Mr. Muraleedharan said: “My father was in the Freedom Movement. You can imagine what it had been to resign dubbed a traitor.”
He said he did not want to name more names. “I will do that within the party. I am writing to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy asking the government to take action against the police officers who had created this fake case,” he said. B.R.P. Bhasker, senior journalist; Paul Zacharia, writer; and Madhu Nair, social activist; addressed the function.