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BJP rakes up ISRO spy case, attacks R.B Sreekumar

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BJP rakes up ISRO spy case, attacks R.B Sreekumar
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New Delhi: The BJP raked up the 19-year -old ISRO spy scandal to allege that former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar had levelled charges of fake encounters against the Narendra Modi government as a quid pro quo for the UPA regime giving him a clean chit in the case "fabricated" by him.

At a press conference here, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi played an audio CD of a purported telephone conversation allegedly between Rais Khan, a close aide of activist-lawyer Teesta Setalvad, and Sreekumar to "prove" that the IPS officer and Setalvad were working in tandem to target the Modi government.

Sreekumar dismissed as false propaganda the allegations levelled by Lekhi, saying she had "misrepresented facts".

In the recording, which the party claimed is also available on the Internet, Sreekumar purportedly says, "Teesta helped me when the chargesheet (on fake encounters) was given to me."

The main opposition alleged that that the former top cop of Gujarat had earlier fabricated the ISRO spy case of 1994 which he had probed while on deputation with the Intelligence Bureau as Deputy Director.

Responding to this, Sreekumar claimed that IB was not authorised to investigate the case.

Sreekumar was, however, given a clean chit by the UPA government in the spy case in 2004. In return for this, the BJP alleged, he launched a tirade against the Modi government when he was posted back to his parent cadre, Gujarat.

Lekhi alleged that "patriotic" ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who was a suspect in the spy case, was branded a traitor and also ill-treated and tortured by Sreekumar during his 50-day incarceration.

Later, Sreekumar was charged on nine counts including not preparing a written statement of interrogation of Narayanan, leaving the interrogation statements unsigned and undated and failing to conduct verification about the veracity of the statements of the accused persons as recorded by the team of IB officers without assigning any reasons.

This resulted in irreparable loss and humiliation to respectable scientists of ISRO and others, according to the chargesheet.

However, in 2004, the Home Ministry dropped seven of the nine charges against Sreekumar "without any inquiry".

"As a part of the quid pro-quo, he was expected to launch a tirade full of lies and untruths against the BJP government in Gujarat for political reasons. Apparently, Sreekumar honoured his part of the deal with his political suitors and he continues to do the same even today," Lekhi alleged.

Meanwhile, S. Nambi Narayanan, a former scientist of India's space agency ISRO, who was arrested on espionage charges in 1994, Thursday said he wants punishment for the Intelligence Bureau official who fabricated the case against him.

Narayanan told IANS he was discharged first by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and then by the Supreme Court in 1998.

"It's now 15 years and I am yet to get justice, even after the National Human Rights Commission gave me a clean chit," he said.

He said Srikumar was the then deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) here and he colluded with Kerala Police in the interrogation and the torture inflicted on him during the probe.

"The IB had no business in the investigation and interrogation at all. Their job was to inform what they know. Srikumar was the mastermind and stood behind the scenes when his men did the job of interrogation and torture. He never ever came to the front because he knew he would be caught," said Narayanan.

"I heard Srikumar telling the media after the BJP press conference today (Thursday) that he has done no wrong. How can he say that now because his men and the Kerala Police did this to me. He can't get away from what he did and I want justice and I want him to be punished," said Narayanan, almost breaking down.

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