Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the wrongful arrest of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in connection to the ISRO espionage case.
The scientist welcomed the probe with full heart and said, “I am happy. I sought a central agency probe that led to the conspiracy that delayed the country’s cryogenic project.”
The bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar took cognizance of the report submitted by the committee that was appointed by it to investigate the role of erring officials in the case. The committee was headed by SC judge DK Jain against the wrongdoings on the part of Kerala police.
“The report says it’s a serious matter which needs deeper investigation. It seems to suggest it’s a case of commission and omission,” the court said.
The court submitted that since the Commission was not asked to adjudicate but will only assist the court, and the further investigation will be done by CBI.
“We direct Supreme Court Registry to forward one copy of the report to the Director or Acting Director of CBI. CBI will proceed in accordance with law. CBI will be at liberty to treat the report as a preliminary report,” ordered the top court bench.
The court has directed the investigation agency to submit the report within three months and also made it clear that the copy of the report shall not be published or circulated in the public.
In 1994, Nambi Narayanan who worked as an ISRO scientist as an in-charge of the Cryogenics division, was accused of leaking defence secrets to the enemy countries. He was arrested by Kerala police under Official Secrets Act.
Narayanan was acquitted of all the charges in 1998.
He sought legal action against the erring officials for falsely accusing him. He accused Kerala police and Intelligence Bureau officials of torturing him. He was compensated Rs 10 lakh for the agony and torture he underwent by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Narayanan challenged the State decision to refrain from taking any action against the erring police officials before Kerala High Court with a writ petition. However, a single judge allowed the same. Later, a division bench turned down his plea and then he moved the Supreme Court.
In 2018, Supreme Court observed that the prosecution initiated against Kerala police was malicious and had caused tremendous harassment to him. The top court awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation to Narayanan and also constituted a committee to ascertain whether action needs to be taken against the erring police officials.