While the country is celebrating the launch of ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite on 6 January 2014 putting behind several past failures, we should also remember the sacrifince of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan who originally started this project. This satellite would have been launched 13 years ago had his work not been sabotaged by certain rogue officers in the Intelligence Bureau who worked allegedly at the behest of CIA to sabotage Nambi Narayanan's work. The least ISRO owes Nambi is to name the satellite after him. This three part article describes the leading role played by Gujarat IPS officer RB Sreekumar in hounding ISRO scientist in 1994 through a cooked up spy scandal to destroy ISRO.
Like the rogue IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, Retd IPS
officer R B Shreekumar, who has been projected by Teesta Setalvad’s NGO as one
of the prime witnesses alleging Narendra Modi’s direct complicity in the 2002
riots, has a very dangerous and blemished career record.
Shreekumar belongs to the 1971 IPS batch Gujarat cadre. He wasdeputed to the Intelligence Bureau on 21
August 1987 and returned to his parent cadre in the state of Gujarat on 9
August 2000 after earning severe indictments from the CBI for falsely implicating
two top scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and four
other innocents in a fabricated spy scandal to sabotage the work of this
premier space research institution. This was allegedly done at the CIA’s
A chance meeting at an airport
with a senior police officer of the Gujarat Government sometime in the month of
May-June 2013 led me to examine the history of IPS officer Shreekumar. This
officer had read my article on IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt which provided a
glimpse into his roguish track record. (Read article: Heroes
of the Secular Brigade: A Glimpse into the Doings and Misdoings of Sanjiv Bhatt) This officer told me that Teesta Setalvad
and the Congress Party had handpicked only those officers to level cooked up
charges against Modi whose own track record was corrupt, compromised and
roguish. Hence, they were willing to play the Congress game- especially since
it also brought handsome rewards.
In that brief meeting, he
asked me to also examine the track record of IPS officer Shreekumar, especially
his involvement in the ISRO spy case which nearly destroyed the premier space
research institution built by Dr Vikram Sarabhai. This part of Shreekumar’s
history had been so successfully erased that no one ever raised it.
Like most others, I too
had forgotten the ISRO spy scandal. But on reaching Delhi, I did a Google
search and found that there was enough reason for me to follow the lead. What
better way to do so than to talk to the prime victim of Shreekumar—the ISRO
scientist Nambi Narayanan whose life was marred beyond repair by the malafide
actions of Shreekumar?
After fixing the time on the
phone, I flew to Trivandrum on 26th of August 2013 and met Mr.Nambi
Narayanan at his house. The story he narrated was more spine chilling than any
crime thriller—not just in terms of the injustice and horrors inflicted on
Nambi Narayanan but also in terms of how a premier space research institution
of the Indian Government was targeted for destruction at the behest of the CIA
by a team of its own police and Intelligence Bureau officials, of which
Shreekumar was a lead player.
| Nambi Narayanan
(The unedited video recording
of the interview with Nambi Narayanan is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GNnxc6PNw4. .An edited text of
Nambi’s account along with other evidence will appear in part II and III)
Brian Harvey, a space scientist, in his well-researched
book “Russia in Space: The Failed
Frontiers”, and Rajshekhar
Nair, in his book “Spies in Space”,
have both brought together a wealth of evidence to indicate that the CIA was
behind the targeting of ISRO and destroying the lives of some of its best
scientists. Their research points out that Sreekumar and other
officials of IB were allegedly set up by the CIA to eliminate India from the lucrative
satellite launch business and to retain the monopoly of US firms in this field.
To quote from Brian Harvey’s
of the Indian upper stage had been underway with Russian help for four years
when the arrangements were denounced by American President George Bush as a
violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime….
May 1992, the Bush administration announced that it was applying American sanctions on both the ISRO and Glavcosmos…..
In July, 1993, after negotiations in
Washington DC, Russia backed off its proposals to transfer technology to India
and suspended its agreement, invoking force majeure (circumstances
beyond their control), to the fury of the Indian government…..
The KVD-1 had now become caught up in a much bigger
game- the negotiations between America and Russia for the construction of the
International Space Station. Russia suggested compensation for loss of the
Indian contract and the $400m paid by the United States for seven American
flights to Mir may have become part of the equation…...
The plot thickened when, in October 1994, two
senior scientists at the Indian Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, S. Nambi
Narayanan and P. Sasikumaran, were arrested for ‘spying for foreign countries’.
Eventually, the Central Bureau of Investigation admitted that the charges
against S. Nambi Narayanan and P. Sasikumaran were false and baseless and they
were freed. Later, the United States was accused of setting them up as part of
a dirty tricks campaign against the sale of the KVD-1….(From“Russia
in Space: The Failed Frontier”, Springer in collaboration with Praxis
Publishing, UK, p. 259]…
In 1994, Shreekumar was posted as the Deputy Director of the
State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) in Trivandrum. He was found by the CBI to have
acted as the mastermind in the ISRO spy scandal. CBI had recommended that
appropriate action be taken against Shreekumar and other officials of the
Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Kerala Police who acted with malafide intent to destroy
the ISRO. The key
target of IB officials was the eminent space scientist Nambi Narayanan—the main
anchor of cryogenic technology. His life has been permanently marred. Apart from having successfully fought a
heroic battle to clear own name, Nambi Narayanan has been pleading with
successive governments to investigate the role of the CIA and to expose those
who acted at its behest. But thus far these
appeals have fallen on deaf ears for reasons which are not hard to guess.
Shreekumar has gotten away with his crime despite serious
indictment by the CBI. The only “punishment” he got was to be sent back to his
parent cadre in Gujarat. On 16 August, 2000, he was posted as Adl. DGP, ArmedUnit
at Ahmedabad. He continued to hold the same post till 8 April, 2002. However,
after almost two months of post-Godhra riots, Shreekumar was posted in the State Intelligence Bureau
(SIB) and held this post from 9 April 2002 to 17 September, 2002.
punishment because he worked out a deal to act as a hatchet man for the Congress-led
UPA government. Like Sanjeev Bhatt, he too belatedly launched a tirade against
Narendra Modi in unison with Teesta Setalvad to whose NGO the Congress Party had
outsourced the job of attacking Modi. (Details of the Quid Pro Quo deal
follow towards the end of this piece)
noteworthy that before this deal was struck, Shreekumar had submitted a letter
to the Nanavaty Commission, raising questions over Bhatt's integrity for
speaking up against Narendra Modi. Shreekumar had said that in 2002 he had
asked Sanjeev Bhatt, who was DCP (Intelligence) during the
riots, to file an affidavit before the judicial panel probing the riots but Bhatt
had not done so. Former DIG Mr Syed told me that earlier, when Shreekumar was
Sanjeev Bhatt’s boss, he had filed a 30 page long ‘Adverse Confidential Report’
against Bhatt. But at the behest of Congress party, he joined forces with Sanjeev Bhatt to level baseless charges against Modi.
After working out a deal
with the UPA Government, Shreekumar suddenly claimed that K. Chakravarthi, the
then DCP, informed him about a meeting
on 27 February, 2002 convened by
Narendra Modi after his return from Godhra in which Modi allegedly said that- “Komi hulla do ma tame police barabari korocho.
Tame be Hindu ne pakdo to tame be Musalmano ne pan pakdo. Have emnahichaleHinduonogussouttarwa
do.” (In communal riots the police
takes action against Hindus and Muslims on one-to-one basis. This will not do
now- allow Hindus to give vent to their anger). Shreekumar admits that
he was personally not present in that meeting. Yet, Teesta and Co. used this as
major evidence against Modi.
During SIT interrogation, Chakravarthi denied
that he had any such conversation with R. B. Shreekumar. After enquiring with
other relevant persons, the SIT concluded that since Shreekumar did not attend
the meeting personally and made the allegation based on hearsay—which too was
not supported by Chakravarthi, the person who is supposed to have reported the
conversation in the CM’s meeting--the version of Sreekumar could not be treated as admissible evidence.
The SIT found his charge untenable not just because it was one man’s word
against another but also because Shreekumar did not have any concrete and
reliable evidence to back his allegations. The SIT report also notes that, like Sanjeev Bhatt, Shreekumar had kept quiet for a long time and started making allegations only when he was superceded for promotion, leading the SIT to conclude that in attacking Modi, he had " a personal axe to grind".
To quote the
SIT report: “R.B.
Sreekumar did not reveal these facts before the Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry,
when he appeared on 31 July
2004, for his cross examination, neither did he reveal these facts even in his second affidavit filed on 6
October 2004. It was only on 9 April 2005, that R. B. Sreekumar filed his third
affidavit before Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry suo-moto, when he enclosed
of the recordings of the conversations with Dinesh Kapadia as wellas G. C. Murmu and Arvind
recordings of conversations with senior government officers show that Shreekumar was
already preparing the ground for his turn around and struck only when the
Congress Party delivered on its part of the deal by withdrawing CBI’s
chargesheet against him in the ISRO spy case.
The SIT found enough prima facie evidence to conclude that Shreekumar's allegations against Modi were "unsustainable" and were also "tainted by self interest". He proved the SIT right about being a politically motivated witness when, within days of his retirement from the IPS, he formally joined Teesta Setalvad headed NGO. The very shreekumar who had written adverse Confidential Reports against IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt became a comrade-in-arms of Bhatt and launched a tirade against Modi. Like with the ISRO case, he helped Teesta fabricate evidence against Modi to personally target Modi.
Alleged Links with Terrorist Groups
Rais Khan Pathan, a former employee of activist Teesta Setalvad’s
NGO Citizen for Justice & Peace (CJP) has recently demanded an investigation into the role of Shreekumar & Setalvadfor
their alleged links with Muslim radical groups. Pathan has written a letter to
Ahmedabad Police Commissioner in this regard, citing among other things his telephonic
conversation with Shreekumar, which he taperecorded.
According to Khan’s letter dated October 3, 2013, Rais Khan got
a call from Shreekumar from cell phone no. 9824061182 on November 4, 2010,
which lasted for 17 minutes. In that recorded conversation, Shreekumar is heard
saying, “It is my request- you do whatever you want to, but it should not
benefit VHP people. It will spoil what we have done till date. Can I do
something to help you compromise with Teesta Setalvad? By your association with
VHP, the terrorist groups will target you. If you will work against Muslims,
the Muslims will also turn against you. We have to work together. If we fight
with each other, the enemy will be benefited. The benefit will go to Modi.”
Rais Khan said in an interview with me as well as complained to
the police and courts that Teesta and Co. started branding him as a VHP supporter
when he began challenging their corruption and wrong doings in the
organization, including manufacturing false witnesses against Modi. Shreekumar,
being an expert in propping up false witnesses, played a lead role in helping
Teesta get false testimonies against Modi.
Shreekumar’s compromised position and his eagerness to serve the interests of the Congress Party in order to keep himself out of indictment in
the CIA-masterminded ISRO SPY case along with his working for Teesta Setalvad’s NGO post retirement demolishes the credibility of his allegations regarding Narendra
Modi’salleged direct complicity in the 2002 riots.
Evidence of Quid Pro Quo between the Congress and Shreekumar
Here is telling evidence that R B Shreekumar was
protected by the UPA government in return for turning against Modi:
17 November, 1999, disciplinary proceeding against R. B. Shri Kumar were
started under Rule 8 of AIS (Conduct) Rules, 1968 on grounds of misconduct
against him in the infamous ISRO spy case when a charge sheet was issued to him
with 9 Articles of Charge.
action was taken in that case for 5 years. In the Government of India such
delays are considered routine.
- On 29
January, 2004, as a mastermind of the ISRO Spy case, R B Shreekumar was served
a charge sheet by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India on 9 counts.
The charges included the following :-
taking into custody the accused persons from the custody of Kerala Police
without completing the legal formalities and conducting an independent
investigation totally disassociating the Kerala Police which had originally
arrested the accused. [The law does not allow the IB to interrogate suspected
persons. Therefore, as per law, the interrogations conducted by the IB were
the accused persons during the investigation.
preparing written statement of interrogation in respect of the two prime
accused interrogated by the team, one of whom wasNambi Narayanan. [The CBI
report had noted that Narayanan’s statements were not recorded because he had
refused to yield despite torture and did not give a false testimony as the three
other accused did under third degree treatment].
interrogation statements prepared by Shreekumar’s team were left unsigned and
undated, indicating devious intent.
interrogation was video recorded but none from the investigating team could
establish the identity of the person who videographed the interrogation.
failed to conduct a verification about the veracity of the statements of the
accused persons as recorded by the team of IB officers. He was unable to assign
any reasons for this lapse. “This resulted in irreparable loss and humiliation
to respectable scientists of ISRO and others which reflects lack of proper
supervision, integrity to duty... ”
his interrogation report Shreekumar talked about a meeting between Raman
Srivastava, the then Inspector General (IG) (an IPS officer of Kerala cadre)
with some accused persons, but he neither shared this information with the State
Police nor provided the basis of allegations against the officer, which led to
the suspension, defamation and humiliation of a senior level police officer.
had built a case that one of the main accused was responsible for smuggling out
the secret papers, documents, maps etc., from one of the installations of
ISRO. Despite this fact, the State Police
was informed by the IB team that nothing was likely to be recovered from the
house of the accused. Therefore, there was no need to search it. However, later,
the State Police was blamed for not having searched the residence of that
Mathew John, Joint Director, IB (a senior of Shreekumar) sent a message stating
that disclosures made by the accused persons were a mixture of truth,
half-truth and untruth. Thus, Shreekumar
was fully aware of the fact that the investigation report prepared by their
team was full of contradictions and that the statements of the accused did not
match each other. He made no attempt to verify the “disclosures” made by the
accused persons. [This too indicated malafide
intent and a pre-planned resolve to file a case without a shred of
But despite these charges
involving endangering of national security allegedly at the behest of the CIA, Shreekumar
remained unscathed because on 22 May, 2004, UPA came to power, after which
things took a dramatic turn. This is the sequence leading to illegal closure of
the enquiry against Shreekumar:
13th December, 2004, i.e., after a lapse of more than 5 years, an
Enquiry Officer was appointed to hold an oral enquiry with Shri K. M. Singh,
the then Director General of CISF, was appointed to investigate charges against
R. B. Shreekumar.
13 December2004 itself, that is, within six months of UPA in power, the written
statement of defence was considered by the Home Minister and was partially
accepted, dropping 7 out of 9 charges and deciding to hold an enquiry on just the
1st and 2nd charges as those charges could not have been
dropped without holding an enquiry.
9 April 2005, Shreekumar filed his third affidavit before Nanavati-Shah
Commission of Inquiry suo-moto, when he started levelling charges against Modi.
In his earlier two affidavits before the Nanavaty Commission, Shreekumar had
made no such allegations. In fact, he had indicted Sanjeev Bhatt for his
is noteworthy that the charge sheet has listed 12 witnesses from all over the
country,including retired senior officers like Shri D.C. Pathak, the former
Director of Intelligence Bureau. In addition to that, it relied on 24 documents
including the statements of the accused in the ISRO spy case and, more notably,
that of Shri Nambi Narayanan, the main accused.
normal course, the Presenting Officer would not have received these documents
in less than a year. He/she would not have completed the examination of
witnesses and the exhibition of documents in less than two to three years.
the Government would not have been able to provide the relied upon documents to
the Charged Officer in less than a year.
disciplinary proceeding were, however, closed on 24January, 2005, which means
that between 13December, 2004 and 24 January, 2005 (which comes to 43 days
including both the first and last days for initiation of oral enquiry), presentingthe
case of the prosecution; exhibiting the relied upon documents; providing the
copies of the relied upon documents to the charged officer; examining the
witnesses; allowing the cross-examination of the witnesses by the charged
officer; considering the defence of the charged officer; examining the
witnesses of the charged officer; receiving the statement of defence by the
charged officer; considering the entire material in a judicial manner;
preparing the enquiry report; submitting the enquiry report to the competent
authority; examining the enquiry report beginning at the level of SO and
passing through Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary/ Director, Joint Secretary,
Additional Secretary, Secretary, MOS (H), and then finally the Home Minister;
considering the entire material by the Home Minister and his decision thereon;
returning the file right up to SO through the same channel; drafting the order
and submission of the same by the same channel again up to Home Minister; and
returning the file through the same route for issue of the order, closing the
entire process involved in disciplinary proceedings by the Government of India is
normally not completed in less than 5 years. The swiftness of this enquiry has
no parallel in the history of the police administration.
very fact that the entire matter was completed in 43 days clearly shows some
“hidden hand” was managing the entire case.
2nd Article in the chargesheet was in respect to torture and ill treatment of
at least three accused persons by the Charged Officer in the course of the investigation
which could not be decided without the examination of the concerned persons.
There is nothing on record to show that those three persons were examined by
the Presenting Officer in support of charges.
is nothing on record to show that the Presenting Officer examined all the
witnesses relied upon to prove the charge and exhibited all the documents
relied upon in support of the charge.If the witnesses and relied upon documents
were not relied upon by the Presenting Officer, it is obvious that he was given
instructions not to do the same by the competent authority which clearly makes
a case of a strong collusion between the Charged Officer and the Government.
break neck speed with which the enquiry was completed and the manner in which it
was conducted clearly shows a deep rooted conspiracy and collusion between the
Charged Officer and the Ministry of Home Affairs and it is clear that for some
undisclosed consideration, the MHA/Govt. of India were in a tearing hurry in
December, 2004, to close the disciplinary proceedings against Shreekumar.
the closure of disciplinary proceedings initiated against Sreekumar is also
illegal as the approval of the Prime Minister and the President was not
obtained in terms of the Rule 8 of the Govt. of India (Transaction of Business)
Rules, 1971 r.w. Item 39 (i), Schedule I of the said Rules.
Such serious charges involving national security being dropped
without any enquiry was unprecedented. Such a bizarre conduct of enquiry
completed in a manner completely contrary to normal and routine practice lends
credence to the allegation that a quid pro quo deal was brokered between MHA
and Shreekumar. In this connection, reliable sources point to the name of
former National Security Advisor, MK Narayanan who is alleged to have played a
key role in working out the details.
Posted on November 16, 2013
To be Continued...
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For Modinama 11 click here
For Modinama 12-Part I click here