A former director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and currently a senior advisor to the ISRO, has gone public with claims that scientists are being targeted in the organisation. He has claimed an attempt was made to assassinate him twice.
Tapan Misra, who headed the Space Application Centre and is set to retire on 31 January, has taken to Facebook in a post “Long Kept Secret”.
He has alleged that the motive seems to be an "espionage attack which is embedded in the government set up to remove a scientist with a critical contribution of a very large military and commercial significance.”
On Facebook, the scientist has claimed a fatal dose of Arsenic Trioxide was probably mixed with chutney (sauce) along with Dosai (thin rice Pancake), in snacks after lunch.
Arsenic Trioxide is a chemical compound used in the manufacturing of pesticides and glass. It is known to have strong toxic effects upon inhalation or skin contact.
Giving a vivid description of the severe symptoms that he experienced, Misra has said that he suffered for two years after the incident.
‘’What followed was a nightmare lasting for almost two years. Severe loss of blood to the tune of 30-40% through anal bleeding. This was followed by severe breathing difficulty, unusual skin eruptions and skin shedding, loss of nails on feet and hands, terrible neurological issues due to hypoxia, skeletal pain, unusual sensations, one suspected heart attack and Arsenic depositions and fungal infections on every inch of skin and internal organs,” Misra has revealed.
The scientist has claimed that he tried to seek justice from the organisation. "What pains me is that the ISRO hierarchy and my colleagues tried to shun me as a pariah. I pleaded with two successive Chairmen to help me in getting justice," he has written in the post without directly mentioning any names.
The scientist has further claimed that on 19 July 2019, an Indian-American professor from one of the topmost US universities suddenly appeared in his office.
"He requested me not to utter a word in future. As a quid pro quo, my IITK gradson will be accommodated in a top notch college in the USA. I declined and he left my office at 1430 hrs. And my thirty-plus years contributing career was consigned to a sinecure position at 1630 hrs. on the same day. I was removed from all responsibilities, including SAC Directorship."
He has listed more alleged attempts to eliminate him from the system including mysterious appearances of poisonous snakes like cobras and kraits every now and then.
The senior scientist has expressed a fear for his life. “Two incidents convinced me that the mysterious people are after me and probably going to hit me hard before my superannuation at the end of this month. They want my mouth shut forever,” he has shared in his post.
ISRO is yet to comment on his accusations.