The senior adviser to Isro, who is set to retire on January 31, claimed that he survived several “assassination attempts” on his life like a massive explosion at his office lab and snake scare at his home even after the 2017 poisoning incident, and it was important to highlight the incident now in order to save other key scientists like him from such “nefarious happenings”.
, Tapan Misra said, “I want early justice as I don’t want to wait like Shri Nambi Narayanan (former senior Isro scientist acquitted of espionage charge by the Supreme Court) who has to wait for decades to get justice. Culprits behind attacks on me should be prosecuted immediately.” On why did he keep quiet for so long, he said, “I would have kept silent had it been just one instance. But after repeated attempts on my life, I could not stop myself. I could not open up earlier as I was facing serious health issues and also because I did not want to embarrass the organisation for which I worked for so long.”
contacted Isro’s PR director Vivek Singh for their reaction, he said, “No comments to offer.”
In a Facebook post titled “Long Kept Secret”, Misra claimed that “I was poisoned with deadly arsenic trioxide on 23rd May 2017, during a promotion interview in ISRO HQ at Bangalore. Fatal dose was probably mixed with chutney along with dosa in snacks. What followed was a nightmare. Severe loss of blood through anal bleeding. I barely could come back from Bangalore and was rushed to Zydus Cadila hospital in Ahmedabad.” He said that home affairs security personnel had then alerted him of arsenic poisoning and helped doctors to focus on the exact remedy. He said he had to undergo treatment at Zydus Cadila hospital, Mumbai’s Tata Memorial and AIIMS-Delhi for two years. Misra said he had suffered “severe breathing difficulty, unusual skin eruptions, loss of nails, terrible neurological issues due to hypoxia, skeletal pain and fungal infections”.
Misra, who is the architect of the synthetic aperture radar for India’s key surveillance satellites of Risat series, alleged that the “motive appears to be espionage attack, embedded in the government set-up, to remove a scientist with critical contribution of very large military and commercial significance, like expertise in building synthetic aperture radar”.
He also talked about the mysterious death of Dr Vikram Sarabhai in 1971, sudden death of Dr S Srinivasan, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director in 1999, and the false espionage case against Nambi Narayanan. “I am convinced that (some) men, embedded in our system, are leading to mysterious deaths of scientists and destruction of our institutions. These incidents should be a wake-up call to prevent such nefarious happenings to many of our bright minds in future,” he said.
Hitting back at his seniors for not supporting him, Misra, who braved brain cancer earlier, said, “What pains me is that the Isro hierarchy and my colleagues tried to shun me as a pariah.”
He claimed that hours before he was removed as SAC director allegedly for opposing the privatisation of Isro’s sensitive technologies, on July 19, 2019, he was approached by an American professor. “ ‘As a quid pro quo (to keep me silent), my IITK grad son will be accommodated in a top-notch college in the USA,’ the professor told me,” he said. But he declined the offer.
While seeking justice, Tapan Misra told
that he would make teaching at IIT and other institutions his full-time profession after retirement.