The Kerala government on Thursday decided to give Rs 50 lakh as compensation to former scientist with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Nambi Narayanan. The Cabinet decision is in accordance with the Supreme Court order, which cleared the scientist of charges in the infamous ISRO espionage case. The SC on September 14 had also directed the compensation be paid by the state within eight weeks.
"We think it is appropriate to direct the state of Kerala to pay a sum of Rs 50 lakhs towards compensation to the appellant," the three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said in the judgement.
"We hasten to clarify that the appellant, if so advised, may proceed with the civil suit wherein he has claimed more compensation," the judgement added.
Nambi Narayanan is a former ISRO space scientist was arrested in December 1994 after being accused of selling state secrets pertaining to confidential test data from rocket and satellite launches. Charged with espionage, the case was transferred to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for investigation. He was in custody for 50 days, and after his release, he claimed that the IB officials who interrogated him wanted him to testify falsely against some of his superiors.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) then took over the case and found no evidence linking him to the alleged sale of state secrets to other countries. The charges against Nambi Narayanan were dismissed by the CBI in 1996 and subsequently by the Supreme Court which declared him not guilty in 1998 and awarded him a compensation of Rs 1 lakh which was to be paid by the Kerala government.
Nambi Narayanan then approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking compensation for the torture and mental agony that he and his family members were subjected to during the case. â€œThere can be no scintilla of doubt that the appellant, a successful scientist having national reputation, has been compelled to undergo immense humiliation. The lackadaisical attitude of the State police to arrest anyone and put him in police custody has made the appellant to suffer the ignominy," the SC observed.