Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair and six other prominent space scientists have been provided with security cover following threat to their lives after a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant claimed that plans were being hatched to kidnap or assassinate them.
Sources in the Union home ministry said 65-year-old Nair, who is also secretary, department of space, had been provided with “Z” category security while the other six scietists associated with the satellite and rocket divisions were given “Y” category security.
The move comes in the wake of interrogation of Furfur Nawaz alias Shabaz Nawaz, a Lashkar militant, recently deported from a Gulf country. He told the interrogators that Lashker had made plans to either kidnap or assassinate some of the prominent scientists including Nair, the sources said.
Under the Z category, Nair, a recipient of country’s second highest civilian award — Padma Vibushan — will have an escort and guards round-the-clock. The other scientists will have a personal security officer and two guards each.
Director (public relations) of ISRO S Satish said that the organisation had received an alert from Union home ministry following which the security was reviewed and necessary measures were taken.
The security of the campus and some of the prominent scientists was reviewed, he said, without divulging any of the names.
Sources in the home ministry said security around other scientific installation across the country has also been enhanced manifold.
During interrogation, Nawaz said that he had conducted a recce of important scientific installations in Bangalore, the sources said.
He said second-rung leadership of Lashker had also visited gulf countries to prepare modules to target scientists.
“Some money had also been allocated for the purpose,” the sources said quoting Nawaz’s interrogation report.