Recently, a film trailer released named as “Rocketry – The Nambi Effect”. The film is based on the life of ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayan. Nambi Narayan was the scientist who helped ISRO and India in achieving great heights.
But he was falsely accused in a spy case and allegedly sharing India’s science secrets with Pakistan. Later, Supreme court and CBI, announced him as innocent but it cost him half of his career. In 2019, he was awarded Padma Bhushan.
Let’s know about the life of the man behind India’s rocketry- Nambi Narayan and about the case fake case against him!
Life of Nambi Narayan
Nambi Narayan is one of India’s great scientist and he contributed a lot to ISRO and India’s space missions. Nambi Sir completed his Master’s in Rocket Propulsion from Princeton University, an Ivy League college. NASA offered him job after his master’s completion but he said no and returned to India to contribute to India’s space missions.
Nambi sir developed Vikas engine which is still used to power the PSLV Satellite launch vehicle. At that time, India was working on liquid fuel engines and Nambi sir knows about the value of liquid engine fuels to gain power in space missions.
Conspiracy against India
At that time, Russia signed a contract with India worth 235 crores for that tech that USA was providing at 950 Cr. and France at 650 Cr. India was becoming a competitor to USA and other countries. Seeing the rise of India, USA tried to keep away the technology of cryogenic engines from India. They also put pressure on Russia and Russia cancelled the contract with India.
Then to stop the rise of Indian space programs and ISRO, many international agencies were working day and night. Then came the fake case against Nambi Narayan, which also halts the progress of India’s space programs.
Fake case against Nambi Narayan
In October, 1994, in Thiruvananthpuram, Police arrested a lady from Maldives. Her name was Mariam Rasheeda. Drawings of ISRO’s rocket engines were found with this lady when she was arrested. It was alleged that, Mariam had planned to sell the drawings to Pakistan.
Nambi sir was in charge of ISRO’s cryogenic rocket project at that time. A month later, Police made arrest of Nambi sir also. Nambi sir was kept for 50 days in jail where he was interrogated, psychologically and physically tortured. He was asked to put blame on ISRO’s top scientists but he refused to do so.
Many newspapers put articles on Nambi sir without having any solid proof against him. Media and people blamed him for selling India’s secret with Pakistan for some money.
Nambi sir in his defence said that, ”How can I sell technology (cryogenic) that was not existent in India in 1994? Why on earth would any entity want to cultivate me as a spy to sell them a technology (Vikas Engine) which was available in the open market and as common as brinjal.”
Justice to Nambi Sir
In 1996, CBI junked the case saying there was no proof of espionage by Nambi sir. CBI also said that the case had no merit and should be dismissed. Then the case reached Supreme Court and it sided in favour of Nambi sir. Supreme Court also ordered Kerala government to give 50 lakh as compensation to Nambi sir. Instead Kerala government gave 1.3 Cr. to Nambi sir.
With fake case and charges of espionage, not just the life of Nambi sir and his family suffered. But it also pushed back the progress of Indian space sector. The cryogenic technology that could have come by 1999, came in India in after 2015. Still India is testing and progressing on that technology.
This was not the only attack on our scientists, many scientists faced different fates in the past for being a part of ISRO’s progress. So, this can be true that foreign forces see India as their competitor and does not want to see it’s progress.
Thank you for reading!