Former top Congress leader P.C. Chacko on Friday asked the CBI, which has been ordered by the Supreme Court to reinvestigate the ISRO spy case, to first question A.K. Antony and Oommen Chandy.
Chacko recently quit the Congress and rejoined the NCP and was seen campaigning for the Left in Kerala. He shared the campaign space with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and was seen slamming the Congress leadership ever since.
Chacko was wanting to contest the Assembly polls, but after failing to get a seat decided to leave the Congress.
The apex court in 2018 appointed a three-member committee headed by retired SC judge D.K. Jain to probe if there was a conspiracy among the then police officials to falsely implicate Narayanan.
On Thursday, the apex court which went through the report ordered the CBI to conduct a new probe and it can treat the Jain panel's report as the preliminary document. The Supreme Court asked the CBI to submit its report in three months.
"If the CBI is really serious to do an impartial probe, then it should first question Antony and Chandy. This ISRO spy case was one of the worst ever things that the Congress party had to undergo. Never was the ISRO scientist, S. Nambi Narayanan, the target. K.Karunakaran has told me everything on how he was attacked in the case," said Chacko.
"These leaders (Antony and Chandy) could never take on Karunakaran directly and instead this case was used by the A faction of the Congress party to take on Karunakaran, while the infighting in the Kerala Police was also used by the police, especially Siby Mathew," added Chacko.
The ISRO spy case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan was arrested on charges of espionage along with another senior official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman.
The CBI cleared him in 1995 and since then he has been fighting a legal battle against the then top police official Siby Mathews and the other officials which include S. Vijayan and K.K. Joshua probed the case and implicated Narayanan.
Siby Mathews later got the rank of the Director General of Police and took VRS, months before he was to have been superannuated and became the Chief Information Officer of the state and has since retired from that post. He is now settled in Thiruvananthapuram.
Incidentally, this case took place when the factional feud in the Congress party between Karunakaran and the A.K. Antony faction led by Oommen Chandy was at its zenith. Karunakaran had to quit office in 1995 after it was found that he was shielding his close aide and senior police officer Raman Srivastava who later became the state police chief and after retirement. He till recently was the advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
But the erstwhile A faction dismisses all this as nothing but humbug as former State Minister and top most aide of Antony and Chandy, Dominic Presentation said there was a difference of opinion with Karunakaran and it began with the resignation of Chandy as Finance Minister in the cabinet of Karunakaran in 1994.
"The resignation was with regards to a Rajya Sabha nomination and at that time the ISRO spy case was not there on the horizon at all. It came later. There is no link between the faction feud and the ISRO spy case at all," said Presentation.