Framed in Isro case, he died without hearing SC verdict

BENGALURU: The TV screen in K Chandrasekhar’s Hebbal hospital room bore in bright, bold letters news he’d been waiting to hear for two decades. But he didn’t twitch, just lay motionless. Formerly India’s representative to Russian space agency Glavkosmos and one of the seven accused in the 1994 Isro spy case, Chandrasekhar, 76, slipped into a coma on Friday morning, hours before the Supreme Court announced a Rs 50 lakh compensation for Isro scientist Nambi Narayanan, another accused in the spy scandal.


Chandrasekhar, Nambi Narayanan and four others were exonerated by the Supreme Court in the false espionage case in 1998. “We tried to show him TV grabs of the news but he was unconscious and didn’t respond,” a distraught K Vijayamma, Chandrasekhar’s wife and ex-GM at HMT, said, adding, “It was the day he’d been waiting for but when it finally arrived, it was too late.”
On Sunday night, Chandrasekhar passed away and his family would never know if even a strain of the news that he lived to hear ever reached him. The 76-year-old had been in a private hospital for over a month due to prolonged illness. He breathed his last at 8.44pm in Hebbal hospital.
Working as India’s representative to Russian space agency Glavkosmos since 1992, Chandrasekhar spent the last two decades of his life in Vidyaranyapura, north Bengaluru, as a recluse after allegedly being tortured by Kerala police and IB.
What did they (Kerala police and IB sleuths) achieve in framing him? Who will be responsible for the trauma that we faced all these years? They ruined his career and our peace of mind. They attacked our house in Kerala, called him a traitor and harassed us. We want to know why they did it,” asked Vijayamma. The couple has no children. Family members said Chandrasekhar kept away from the limelight and lived a low-key life since the controversy broke out.
“He was shattered after the incident. He always said that time would prove his innocence. We were also confident that he was innocent. But he could not pursue the case since his wife was working in a central government establishment and he was worried it would affect her job as they were dependent on her income,” said a relative.


Sudhish Kumar, a close relative said: “I’ve seen him going abroad being part of various delegations and enjoying a lavish life but everything went for a toss after the spy case broke out. The financial implication was very huge.He was very much limited to the house”. Chandrasekhar was allegedly stripped in front of interrogators, harassed and physically abused when he was in the custody of Kerala police and IB sleuths.
Last Friday, the apex court ruled that the Isro spy case was false and unnecessary, and granted Narayanan a compensation of Rs 50 lakh. The case first surfaced after scientists Narayanan and D Sasi were arrested in 1994 on charges of handing over India’s indigenous space technology to Pakistan.
In 1996, the CBI submitted to a Kerala court that the case was false, following which all the accused were discharged. Narayanan later alleged that the country’s intelligence officials were working in collusion with the CIA, with Isro being their primary target, and the scandal not only destroyed the careers of the accused scientists but also stalled work on the cryogenic engine development programme meant to power GSLV.



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Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.
Gloria Steinem