ISRO 'Spy' Case: CBI to probe role of cops who framed ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan

The Supreme Court has ordered a CBI probe into the role of Kerala police officers in framing ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in the ISRO ‘Spy’ Case
Nambi Narayanan
Nambi Narayanan

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will start probe into the conspiracy behind the ISRO ‘Spy’ case that rocked the nation in the 90’s. The Supreme Court has directed the registry to hand over the report handed in by the Justice DK Jain Committee in the ISRO ‘Spy’ case against scientist Nambi Narayanan to the CBI for further action. A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar was considering the application submitted by the Centre seeking further action on the Jain Commission report in the case involving the role of erring police officers. The bench has asked the acting CBI director to take charge of the case and treat the report by the Jain panel as a preliminary enquiry to help conduct further investigations into the matter. The bench has also ordered the CBI to file a status report on its investigation in three months.

The espionage case goes back to 1994 when director of the cyrogenic project lab of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) S Nambi Narayan, along with another scientist, were accused of selling classified information on India cyrogenic engine programme to Russia and Pakistan. The case had caught headlines, when Maldivian national Rasheeda was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram for allegedly obtaining secret drawings of ISRO rocket engines to sell to Pakistan.

The SC had on September 14, 2018 appointed the three-member panel headed by its former judge D K Jain while directing the Kerala government to cough up Rs 50 lakh compensation for compelling Narayanan to undergo "immense humiliation".

The scientist was arrested when the Congress headed by K Karunakaran was heading the government in Kerala.

The panel, after investigation, submitted its report in a sealed cover to the apex court recently.

Narayanan, who was given a clean chit by the CBI, maintained that the Kerala Police had "fabricated" the case.

The Centre on April 5 had filed an impleadment application in the Supreme Court of India to open the sealed copy of the report on the illegal arrest of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, and take action against the errant delinquent police officials who allegedly attempted to frame him

Narayanan had earlier approached the apex court against a Kerala High Court judgement that said "no action needed to be taken" against former DGP Siby Mathews, who was then heading the SIT probe team, two retired superintendents of police, K K Joshua and S Vijayan, and the then Deputy Director, Intelligence Bureau, R B Shreekumar, who were later held responsible by the CBI for the scientist's illegal arrest.

The apex court had termed the police action against the ex-scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) a "psycho-pathological treatment" and directed the Kerala government to cough up Rs 50 lakh compensation for compelling Narayanan to undergo “immense humiliation”.

The apex court also rejected the plea of the Kerala government that due to the lapse of time, no inquiry or subsequent actions were needed to be taken against the erring officials.

Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader K Muraleedharan has welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to hand over the probe to the CBI. He said the probe would reveal the truth and prove his father, former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran's innocence.

The NationWide