Dr RK Gupta, the director of the missile programme, has been discharged without proper explanation just a day after the successful launch of Agni-V, Express has learnt.
Gupta was replaced by his junior colleague, G Ram Guru as the project director with effect from February 3. Feeling humiliated, Gupta has made a representation before the defence secretary RK Mathur — who is holding additional charge as DRDO Secretary after Chander’s departure — on Wednesday.
“With all humility and respect, I wish to bring to your notice that on February 2, I was relinquished from the post of project director Agni-V. I am shocked that… such bad treatment is meted out to such a senior scientist with an excellent track record throughout service tenure,” Gupta said in a communication to Mathur.
Gupta further said, “We had a successful launch of the canisterised version of Agni-V. I believe that my removal was premeditated with malicious intentions of Dr V G Sekhran, Director General, Missile and Strategic Systems and Avinash Chander, former scientific advisor to Raksha Mantri.”
Gupta, a Scientist-H of DRDO’s Hyderabad based Advanced System Laboratory, in another strongly worded letter to the ASL Director has said, “My whole family is undergoing mental agony and if any untoward accident/incident happens, I squarely fix VG Shekhran and Avinash Chander responsible for it.”
In fact, he was surprised that he was in constant touch with his seniors, including Chander and Shekhran during the launch campaign and at field firing range of the Agni-V and nobody had informed him about this. “I never thought of such a conspiracy, which I would call back-stabbing,” Gupta said. Efforts to contact Avinash Chander were unsuccessful.
While speaking to Express over phone, Dr Gupta said, “I never imagined such a level of dirty politics in the country’s premier defence research organisation. If a dedicated and senior scientist gets such bad treatment, then nobody would like to come forward to work for it. They handed over a backdated letter dated January 5 to me without giving any explanation for my removal from the project, of which I am the founding project director,” Gupta said.
“On the day of Agni-V launch, we all were celebrating by hugging and shaking hands with each other, including (then DRDO chief) Avinash Chander. I never thought of such a conspiracy,” Gupta added.