Finally, the innocent scientist Nambi Narayanan of ISRO has got justice from the Supreme Court after 24 years of strong battle. Narayanan who was arrested in 1994 on charges of Espionage and leaking ‘Flight Test data’ to Maldives has now been cleared of all charges and has finally got compensation for the unimaginable mental torture and harassment he faced.
The Supreme Court which pronounced verdict today declared that Nambi Narayanan’s arrest was needless and unnecessary and said he was “unfairly arrested & harassed” for which it also declared a compensation of Rs 50 Lakh for the mental torture and trauma.
It was in the year 1994, one of the top most scientist from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) Nambi Narayanan was arrested by the Intelligence Bureau and Kerala police on charges of selling state secrets to Pakistan. Nambi Narayanan was working on a cryogenic project in the ISRO along with D Sasikumaran, deputy Director K Chandrashekar who was then the representative of Russian Space Agency, SK Sharma and Fauziyya Hassan who was Maldivian friend of Rashida.
Suddenly in October 1994, a Maldivian National called Mariam Rashida was arrested in Trivandrum on charges of obtaining secret rocket engine drawings from an ISRO scientist to be sold to Pakistan. This lead to the investigation against the ISRO scientist leading to his arrest. In November 1994, Narayanan was arrested by the Kerala police and IB on charges of playing role in leaking the crucial data.
In December, the case was handed over to CBI, which failed to produce any evidence against Nambi Narayanan and they finally got bail. After two years, the CBI submitted a report to the magistrate claiming that there was no evidence against Narayanan as claimed by the IB and the Kerala police. The magistrate accepted the report of the CBI and discharged all accused due to lack of evidence.
But the CPM government in Kerala along with Congress filed more charges on Nambi Narayanan and ordered further investigation in the case. This was a sinister plan by political parties which wanted Narayanan to stop his research on rocket engine which would otherwise put India in the forefront of world’s missile program. But someone in our country wanted to stop him which would indirectly favour Pakistan.
In 1998, the Supreme Court quashed all probe ordered against Narayanan by the Kerala government. But the government with some traitors desperately wanted Narayanan to be in jail further harassed him in every way possible. Narayanan in 2001 filed a case in National Human Rights Commission demanding compensation for the harassment. But the Kerala government again challenged this order.
Finally in 2012, the Kerala High court declared RS 10 lakh compensation to Narayanan to be paid from the Kerala government. But it said that no action was required to be taken against former DGP Siby Mathews and former SPs K K Joshua and S Vijayan who were held responsible by CBI for his illegal arrest.
The 76-year-old former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan said the division bench of the high court had “failed to appreciate the real undercurrent that passed through the mind of the apex court, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the single judge of the high court in their verdict and on untenable reasons, quashed the order of the single judge”.
In 2017, the Supreme Court which took up the petition filed by Narayanan to probe the investigating officers who falsely accused and arrested him found that the case was cooked up with a malicious intention of framing Nambi Narayanan.
Today, the SC has finally granted a 50 lakh compensation for the long and desperate battle of Nambi Narayanan. Though this case from surface just looks like a honest mistake of intelligence officers, it is not as simple as it looks as it involved a deep rooted ploy to sabotage the Indian Cryogenic program which could have put India on top. If we look at history, the most famous Indian Nuclear Scientists like Vikram Sarabai, Homi J Baba and many other until recently have seen an unfortunate end. Their deaths had no reason, no logic but had one thing in common that they were all working on Nuclear program and missile development for India.
Nambi Narayanan’s case is also no different and the international lobby which wants to stop Indian nuclear development program is the same one which may have trapped Narayanan in this fake plot.
Many times Narayanan in his interview had revealed that he had faced death threats, physical abuse and says that the scars of humiliation can never be forgotten.
Narayanan, then a senior scientist who had worked under the likes of the legendary Vikram Sarabhai had said “People would come to our house and burn my effigy, call me names, shout slogans… My family suffered a lot. My children were agitated and would fight back. But my wife slipped into depression and stopped talking.” “Stones were thrown at ISRO buses and morale at the institute had dipped. His wife, Meena, was once forced to get out of an autorickshaw she was travelling in when the driver realised who she was. “The most cruel part was that it was raining at the time.” This was the level of torture he underwent.
Credits: Economic Times