A top award-winning Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist was picked up by the police during a raid on a high-end spa-cum-massage parlour in Jaya-mahal. The police raid occurred on May 11 around 11 pm, and the scientist was arrested along with 18 others, including women working in the parlour and two pimps, under the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act. According to the police, the scientist initially managed to hide his real identity from them.
T Mohana Rao is Director of the Gas Turbine Research institute (GTRE), a DRDO wing involved in the manufacture of Kaveri, India’s first indigenous jet engine for LCA Tejas. According to the police, Mohana Rao had claimed at the time of the arrest, “I have come to fix an appointment for my wife for tomorrow.” Mohana Rao also allegedly lied to the police that he was a consultant with aeronautics space research and was a resident of Vimanapura in HAL.
In the police press note released later, the 16th name in the list of arrested was that of Mohana Rao and his address was given as Vimanapura.
Bangalore Mirror tried to contact Mohana Rao on his official number listed in the website of the Aeronautical Society of India (Bangalore branch) where he is chairperson. This phone number was also confirmed by the honorary secretary of the Society and another GTRE official, U Chandrashekar.
The male who picked up the call first agreed that it was indeed Mohana Rao on the line, but when we identified ourselves as members of the press, the speaker claimed to be Mohana Rao’s son and wanted to know what the matter was.
When we insisted that the speaker first reveal his identity, the man said he was ‘Ramesh’. “I am his friend who has been using this number for the last three weeks. You can leave a message with me, which I will pass on,” he said. When we asked why the official number of a senior scientist who is working on important national defence projects would be with a ‘friend’, he hung up.
We texted him and also sent an e-mail to him asking him for a response on the matter, but received no response to either at the time of going to print. According to DRDO sources, the issue is now exercising the higher-ups in the defence establishment. Sources said DRDO’s vigilance director (headquarters) Brigadier Ajay Gupta has arrived in Bangalore to collate information on the case.
Mohana Rao has been part of the GTRE team which has been working on the jet engine project, to be used for the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, for the last two decades. He joined GTRE as a junior technician in Bangalore in 1989 and rose up the departments ranks rapidly. He is known for his proximity to Union minister of state for defence Pallam Raju.
GTRE has spent close to Rs 1,900 crore on building the Kaveri engine, but has failed to deliver the expected results. Now it is set to partner with a French company in what is said to be a multi-million-dollar deal, for technology-transfer to complete the engine building project.
In 2008, Mohana Rao and the GTRE team were awarded the Dr V M Ghatge national award for his outstanding contribution in the field of aerospace technology. Mohana Rao is also chairperson of the Bangalore branch of Aeronautical Society of India and the Chairperson of the township advisory committee of C V Raman Nagar, where most
DRDO personnel live.
He also heads the Rs 100 crore GATET project that was launched a year ago. Unconfirmed reports also claim that the scientist was in the company of N E Narayana, a contractor who supplies mechanical parts to DRDO. Mohana Rao was due to retire this year but was given a two-year extension.
The spa management continued to deny that it was involved in any illegal activity. “Our owner Madhuri Hingorani is out of town and we cannot comment on the matter. But we deny all charges of immoral activity in our salon,” a spokesperson said.
Address of Shri T. Mohana Rao,
Shri T. Mohana Rao, Out Standing Scientist, Director
Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE)
Phone Number Office = 080-25240698
Residence Number -080-25241892
Email Id – email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address- E/1 Director’s Enclave
DRDO Township, Phase –I
CV Raman Nagar
Bangalore – 560093