Finally, the Supreme Court on Thursday, set the motion for a CBI investigation into the conspiracy for framing former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in 1994 in a fabricated espionage case by the Kerala Police.

The CBI was asked by the Supreme Court to investigate into the report submitted by DK Jain Committee regarding the role of the Kerala police officers in deliberately implicating Nambi Narayanan a distinguished scientist at ISRO, in a fake espionage case in 1994.

The SCA bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari also directed the CBI to treat the DK Jain Committee report as a preliminary enquiry and take further action on it.

The SC also directed the CBI to file within three months its decision on the further actions on the basis of the enquiry report. The bench said the report raises serious questions on the behaviour of the senior police officers who filed an apparently fake case against Nambi Narayanan which needs deeper investigations.

The 78 year old former ISRO scientist, welcomed the order directing the CBI to probe the fake espionage case. Nambi Narayanan has been consistently saying that there was a conspiracy to target ISRO scientists working on cryogenic technology for launching rockets. Notably in 1994 US not only denied to share the critical cryogenic technology to India, but also warned Russia against helping India to develop the cryogenic technology propelled rocket launch.

Nambi Narayanan reportedly said, “I would get justice only if the probe into the conspiracy is carried out. I don’t have full details. I welcome the probe. It was a fabricated case. CBI closure report had already stated it. The Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission had attested that the case was fabricated. Now, it has to be revealed who has fabricated it.”

What Is The 1994 espionage case?

In 1994 Kerala police officials out of the blue swooped down on Nambi Narayanan and his colleagues at ISRO and charged them with espionage by accusing them of transferring sensitive confidential documents on space program to Pakistan and other foreign countries. Nambi Narayanan and two other scientists, D Sasikumaran and K Chandrashekar were arrested in November 1994 by Kerala police and physically tortured by senior police officers in custody to extort confessions to the crime they never committed.

It is alleged that CIA in a bid to protect commercial interests of US in space technology, had planted a fabricated case through its moles in the Intelligence Bureau, using the politically inclined Kerala police as a conduit and very willing Kerala politicians who had no compunction about settling personal scores at the cost of nation.

Nambi Narayan and other scientists became scape goat of political rivalry in the Congress party. The politically aligned Kerala police arrested the scientists and levelled charges of espionage under sections 3,4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act against the scientists.

However, in 1996 the CBI found that the allegations against him and other scientists were false and fabricated. In 1998, the Supreme Court upheld the findings of the CBI and directed the Kerala government to pay Rs 1 lakh compensation to Narayanan and others. Dr Narayanan had  also approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking justice for the mental and physical harassment suffered by him. In 2001, the NHRC awarded him a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs.

The CBI had in its report absolving Nambi had stated that senior Kerala police officer Siby Mathews without any probe left “the entire investigation to IB surrendering his duties” and ordered the indiscriminate arrest of the scientist and others without adequate evidence”.

Notably, the IB officer RB Srikumar was the main lynchpin in making all these baseless allegations against the ISRO scientists. It is pertinent to note that this same Srikumar, who is close to the Congress party had made absolutely baseless allegations against the then CM of Gujarat, Narendra Modi Gujarat to implicate in 2002 Gujarat Riots.

SC Awarded Nambi Narayanan Rs 50 lakh compensation for wrongful arrest, Mental & Physical Harassment

In 2018, The Supreme Court awarded a compensation of Rs. 50 lakhs to Nambi Narayanaa for his wrongful arrest, physical & mental harassment by the Kerala Police in custody in the fake 1994 ISRO espionage case. The apex court also ordered a probe into the highly questionable role of the police officers in Narayanan’s arrest and harassment in custody.

Narayanan had approached Supreme Court challenging the Kerala High Court order stating, “no action needed to be taken” against former DGP Siby Mathews, headed the SIT probe team in the fake spy case along with two retired superintendents of police, K K Joshua and S Vijayan, and the then Deputy Director, Intelligence Bureau, R B Shreekumar, who were found to be responsible by the CBI for the scientist’s illegal arrest.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra had in the judgement observed that “the criminal law was set in motion without any basis. It was initiated, if one is allowed to say, on some kind of fancy or notion”.

The Supreme Court said that Nambi Naraayanan’s “liberty and dignity” which are core human rights, were patently infringed when he was taken into custody.

Time To Fix Responsibility & Book People Involved In Fabricating Fake Spy Case Hurting India’s Scientific Advancement

Nambi Narayanan, a 28 year old brilliant academic who graduated from Princeton, one of the Ivy Leagues colleges, declined a very lucrative and prestigious job offer in the United States and chose to return to India in 1969 and work towards building India’s technological capabilities in Space Research.

He returned to work with Vikram Sarabhai, the father of Indian space program in ISRO. By 1991, Narayanan had not only contributed significantly in building India’s space vehicles PSLV and GSLV but also was the topmost scientist working on cryogenic technology.

It is said that just when he and his group of scientists were going to achieve a breakthrough in cryogenic research, the whole fabricated espionage case broke out finishing off the brilliant career of Nambi Narayanan and pushing India back by several decades by fixing the key scientist in fake case.

It is time that the police officers and IB officers and their political masters involved in cooking up the fake espionage case are brought to book to serve as an example to others who want to collaborate with foreign forces inimical to India’s advancement in science and technology, economical development and national security. As the cryogenic technology is key to all of the aforementioned goals of India.

News Input: Live Law, Opindia, India Today, Times Of India.

Image sourced from India Today

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