Top former ISRO space scientist S. Nambi Narayanan on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision that ordered a fresh probe into the 27-year-old ISRO spy case, in which he was falsely implicated.
“All what I know is I was subjected to all sorts of harassment for no fault of mine. I welcome the new directive of the Supreme Court asking the CBI to come out with all the facts including if there was a conspiracy in the ISRO spy case,” said Narayanan.
This new order came after the apex court had in 2018 appointed a three member committee headed by retired SC judge D.K. Jain to probe if there was a conspiracy among then police officials to falsely implicate Narayanan. On Thursday, the apex court which went through the report ordered the CBI to conduct a new probe and it can treat the Jan panel’s report as the preliminary document. The Supreme Court asked the CBI to submit its report in three months.
The ISRO spy case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan was arrested on charges of espionage along with another senior official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman.
The CBI cleared him in 1995 and since then he has been fighting a legal battle against then top police official Siby Mathews and the other officials which include S. Vijayan and K.K. Joshua who probed the case and implicated Narayanan.
Sibi Mathews later got the rank of the director general of police and took VRS, months before he was to have superannuated and became the Chief Information Officer of the state and has since retired from that post, and is now settled in Thiruvananthapuram.
Incidentally this case took place when the factional feud in the Congress party between K. Karunakaran and the A.K. Antony faction led by Oommen Chandy was at its zenith and Karunakaran had to quit office in 1995 after it was found that he was shielding his close aide and senior police officer Raman Srivastava who later became the state police chief and after retirement, he till recently was the advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
It now remains to be seen, if the CBI will call up journalists who then had written juicy tales of this case and the highlight of one such report was that consequent to the spy case, it would be doubtful if the ISRO unit here will be able to even function properly, as many space secrets were leaked.
Narayanan added that it was because of this irrelevant case that the cryogenic programme of the country got delayed.
“What would have been ready by 1999, was delayed till 2014. I have full faith in the efforts of the Centre and only when this new probe is complete and the verdict is implemented, will I be fully happy,” added Narayanan.
Incidentally, Narayanan by now has received a compensation of Rs 1.90 crore from various agencies including the Kerala government which last year handed him Rs 1.30 crore and then came an award of Rs 50 lakh as directed by the Supreme Court in 2018 and another Rs 10 lakh that came as directed by the National Human Rights Commission.
The compensation was because he had to suffer wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution and humiliation.
In 2019, the country awarded him the Padma Bhushan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whenever he visits the state and takes part in political rallies often refers to the travails faced by Narayanan and how the BJP treated him with respect and consideration.