Former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair spoke to Republic TV speaking at length about is claim that the delay in India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1 was due to political consideration by the UPA II government.
In an exclusive interview to Republic earlier on Thursday, he had stated that the Chandrayaan-2 mission got delayed because the then government (2009-2014) which was led by former PM Manmohan Singh decided to go with the Mars mission and diverted the preparations to that mission despite all approvals being in place with the space agency. He had also said that certain "political uncertainties" had delayed the space program.
The former ISRO chief has now said to Republic TV the then government, approximately 18 months before the election, pushed ISRO with respect to the mission despite the space agency facing limitations. He also hinted that the decision to push ISRO for the Mars mission came from the top, right at the level of the Prime Minister, as ISRO takes directions from the PMO.
"The election was around the corner and if you say that we have gone to Mars much beyond the moon, it would have national prestige. Unfortunately, that mission got delayed and began after PM Modi came to power.
"It was almost 18 months before elections, they were driving ISRO hard. There were certain limitations with respect to PSLV rockets' capacity to take large space spacecrafts but in spite of that the mission was being driven," he said.
When asked who gave made the decision based on political considerations and rushed the agency to deliver the mission despite the issues with PSLVs, he said:
"I was not involved at that time in the decision-making. It was Mr Ramakrishnan (the then ISRO head) and the Prime Minister's Office. Space department reports to PM directly."
On Thursday, former DRDO scientist Ravi Kumar Gupta also similar claims about the UPA government delaying Mission Shakti. Gupta had said that India was capable of launching Mission Shakti in 2012 but the then UPA government didn't give them the nod to do the testing.
WATCH | STUNNING: 'UPA 2 Thought Sending Mars Mission Will Give More Credit Before Elections,' Says Fmr ISRO Chief G Madhavan Nair Making Big Disclosures About 'political Uncertainties' Delaying Chandrayaan-2