The Supreme Court of India has reserved the verdict on Nambi Narayanan’s petition against former police officials who wrongly implicated him in the ISRO espionage case. The police officers allegedly tortured him and fabricated false cases which cost him his life and career.
The Kerala High Court had earlier stated that no action was required against Sibi Mathews, K K Joshua and S Vijayan who handled the espionage case of 1994. Though the CBI informed the court of its readiness to carry out a supreme court-monitored probe into Narayanan’s allegations against the police officials, the Bench which comprises of Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra and justices A N Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud reserved the verdict.
In 1994, Narayanan along with D Sasikumaran was falsely charged with leaking vital defence secrets to two Maldivian intelligence officers and accused of selling ISRO secrets for millions. Soon after, he was arrested and kept in jail for 50 days. During this period, Narayanan alleged that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials who interrogated him wanted him to make false accusations against the top brass of ISRO. When he refused to comply, he was tortured until he collapsed and was hospitalised.
In May 1996, the charges were dismissed as phoney by the Central Bureau of Investigation and they recommended action against the police officers including Siby Mathews (he subsequently went on to attain a DGP rank). These recommendations were dismissed by the Supreme Court of India in April 1998. In September 1999, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) passed strictures against the government of Kerala for having damaged Narayanan’s distinguished career in space research and for subjecting him and his family to physical and mental torture. In 2001, the Kerala High Court then ordered a compensation amount of Rs 10 lakhs to be paid to Nambi Narayanan based on an appeal from NHRC India in September 2012.
On 3 October 2012, Kerala Government dropped charges against police officials who had falsely implicated Nambi Narayanan in the espionage case on the grounds that 15 years had passed since the case was initiated. The top officer involved in the case, Siby Mathews, had now become the Chief Information Commissioner in Kerala.
Nambi Narayanan said that he didn’t want to comment on the case as the case was sub judice. But he expressed happiness that he only needed to wait a little longer for the judgement.