A Supreme Court appointed three-member committee to probe the alleged conspiracy in falsely implicating former Indian Space Research Organisation scientist Nambi Narayanan in the ISRO spy case will have its first sitting on December 14 and 15. Notably, it is after two years of the committee being formed that it is going to have its first sitting.
It was in 2018 that a bench of the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud decided to appoint a committee under former Justice DK Jain. It also directed the Union government and the Kerala government to name one person each to the committee. While the Union government appointed senior official DK Prasad,the Kerala government appointed former Additional Chief Secretary VS Senthil to the committee.
Nambi Narayanan was falsely accused and arrested in the sensational ISRO espionage case in 1994, until he got acquitted by the Supreme Court in 1998. Following this, he continued his legal battle until the Supreme Court in 2018 ordered him compensation of Rs 50 lakh. It was then the apex court directed a judicial committee to probe the alleged conspiracy, which falsely implicated him in the case.
Reacting to the news about the committee's sitting, Nambi Narayanan said he is happy that the committee is going to have its first sitting. "I do not know if I will be contacted as their job is to find out if there was any conspiracy and it's not just the three former Kerala police officials (allegedly involved), as there are others also. Maybe the committee is doing the groundwork to help them go forward in their probe, I do not know," said the now retired scientist.
The ISRO spy case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan was arrested. He was falsely accused of espionage, and of selling vital state secrets of the ISRO including test data from rocket and satellite launches to Pakistan.
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 other officials including S Vijayan and KK Joshua, who probed the case and implicated Narayanan.
Sibi Mathew, who reached the rank of the Director General of Police, took Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) in 2011, just one year before he was due for retirement. He was, however, appointed as Chief Information Commissioner for five years until 2016.
Nambi Narayanan was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2019. Earlier this year, the Kerala government handed over Rs 1.3 crore to the former scientist as a separate compensation for his unlawful arrest and torture while in police custody.
Watch TNM's interview with Nambi Narayanan: