The Supreme Court on Friday said the arrest of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, 76, was “needless and unnecessary” and set up a committee, headed by retired SC judge Justice D K Jain, to inquire into the role of Kerala police officials in the scientist’s arrest.
The court was hearing the scientist’s plea to prosecute senior police officials for framing him in the alleged 1994 ISRO spy scandal. The top court also granted Narayanan a compensation of Rs 50 lakh.
The scientist was arrested after the Kerala police nabbed Mariam Rasheeda — a Maldivian woman — on October 20, 1994. Though she was arrested for overstaying in India, police later accused her of being involved in a sex-spy scandal.
It was alleged that Rasheeda was the intermediary between the organisation and two more women. She was accused of passing on Isro’s cryogenic programme secrets to the women, who in turn supplied the same to Russia and Pakistan’s ISI.
Two years later, the CBI cleared all the accused, who were discharged in May 1996. CBI also filed a closure report before the court. But a change in the government re-opened the probe. The earlier consent given by the state to the CBI to investigate the case was withdrawn and the Kerala police was asked to hold a fresh inquiry.
In 1998, the Supreme Court quashed the state government’s decision. On Narayanan’s petition, the Kerala high court, in September 2012, ordered the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh as interim relief to the scientist. Later, in October 2014, action was ordered against the errant police officials.
However, a division bench reversed the order in March 2015, which Narayanan challenged before the Supreme Court. His grievance is that despite the CBI probe indicting the police officers, the state has not taken any action against them.
First Published: Sep 14, 2018 11:19 IST