In a sensational development, Tapan Misra who currently holds the position of Senior Advisor at ISRO has alleged that three years ago he was poisoned as a part of an ‘espionage attack’.
In a Facebook post, titled “Long Kept Secret”, Tapan Misra claimed that he was poisoned by deadly Arsenic Trioxide back on May 23, 2017, during a promotion interview at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
He remarked that in July 2017, personnel from the Ministry of Home Affairs met him to apprise him of the poisoning and subsequently helped doctors to focus on the exact remedy.
ISRO scientist and former director of space application Tapan Misra even claimed that he suffered from various health issues like skin shedding, breathing difficulties and fungal infections.
“Someone definitely wanted to do some harm to ISRO. The only solution is to catch the culprit and punish them. It’s not possible to provide security to 2,000 scientists,” said Misra.
Tapan Misra hinted that the alleged poisoning might have taken place as a consequence of ISRO developing critical technology. “I have posted everything on Facebook regarding the incident. I do not know the reason behind this but I can only guess that it might be a consequence of working on a critical technology. There might be other reasons as well.”
Highlighting the need of putting this incident on a public domain, Tapan Misra said, “People take advantage of the silence. Agencies are looking into it. Surely it was no work of a street thug but some sophisticated espionage agency inside our organisation.”
However, Tapan Misra’s case isn’t the first espionage incident on ISRO or India’s leading scientists. The deaths of Vikram Sarabhai, Homi Bhabha and S Srinivasan are all shrouded in a cloth of mystery. “We, in ISRO, occasionally heard about highly suspicious death of Professor Vikram Sarabhai in 1971. Also heard occasional doubts about the sudden death of Dr S Srinivasan, Director of VSSC IN 1999. Case of Shri Nambinarayanan in 1994 is well known. But I never thought that I will be at the receiving end of such mystery,” said Misra.
Dr Vikram Sarabhai’s death on December 31, 1971, was sudden and came just after he witnessed firing of a Russian rocket and inaugurated Thumba Railway Station. It is reported that he died in the room of his favourite resort on Kovalam beach, while some suspect the cause of death to be plane crash just like his predecessor Dr Homi Bhabha in 1966.
Unfortunately, despite the mystery and the suddenness of death, no post mortem was conducted. In fact, a close associate of Vikram Sarabhai, Kamla Chaudhary said, “Vikram had told me that he was being watched by both Americans and Russians.”
Thanks to ISRO, India has emerged as a space superpower in its own right something which has not gone down well with the so-called first world countries who have pumped in billions of dollars in their respective space programs for little results. The absolute contempt of India’s successful Mars Mission was evident from the racist cartoon run by the New York Times.
At a time when India stands at the cusp of achieving rapid progress in space technology, ISRO and its top scientists like Tapan Misra must be protected at costs from espionage attacks.