Supreme Court: Scientist's arrest in ISRO spy case 'unnecessary'

Updated: Sep 15, 2018, 10:54 IST | Agencies

Orders probe into role of Kerala police; awards him Rs 50 lakh compensation

Supreme Court: Scientist's arrest in ISRO spy case 'unnecessary'
Nambi Narayanan. Pic/PTI

Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan was "arrested unnecessarily, harassed and subjected to mental cruelty" in a 1994 espionage case, the Supreme Court held Friday, as it ordered a probe into the role of the Kerala police officers involved in it.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation to 76-year-old Narayanan and asked the Kerala government to pay it to him within eight weeks. Narayanan had approached SC against the judgment of the Kerala HC, which said no action was required to be taken against former DGP Siby Mathews and two retired superintendents of police, K K Joshua and S Vijayan, who were later held responsible by CBI for the scientist's illegal arrest.

The case pertained to allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India's space programme to other countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

Timeline of events
Oct 1994: Maldivian national Mariam Rasheeda arrested in Thiruvananthapuram for allegedly obtaining secret drawings of ISRO rocket engines to sell to Pakistan
Nov: Nambi Narayanan, director of cryogenic project at ISRO, arrested along with deputy director of ISRO D Sasikumaran, and Indian representative of a Russian space agency, K Chandrasekhar. S K Sharma, a labour contractor, and Fousiya Hasan, Maldivian friend of Rasheeda are also arrested
Jan 1995: ISRO scientists and businessmen released on bail; the Maldivian nationals continue to be in custody
Apr 1996: CBI files report before a Kerala court, says espionage case is false and there was no evidence to back the charges
Apr 1999: Narayanan approaches the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) claiming compensation from the state for the mental agony and torture suffered by him.
Mar 2001: NHRC awards an interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh, asks the state to pay damages; government challenges the order.
Apr 2017: The SC begins hearing on Narayanan's plea, seeking action against former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews and others who had probed the matter.
May 3, 2018: Three-judge bench says it is considering awarding Narayanan compensation of Rs 75 lakh and restoring his reputation
Sep 14: SC awards Rs 50 lakh compensation to 76-year-old Narayanan for being subjected to mental cruelty in the ISRO spy case

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