Days after a caustic speech against women’s entry into Sabarimala, former Kerala Director General of Police, TP Senkumar has now criticised the announcement honouring former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan with the Padma Bushan award. Narayanan, who was recognised for his contribution to science, is widely known for being falsely implicated in the ISRO spy scandal. Narayanan’s adversary Senkumar wasted no time to provide an acerbic response to the media, comparing Narayanan with rape and murder convicts.
Senkumar lashed out at Narayanan, saying that giving the award to him is like "a drop poison in elixir." He said, “the Supreme Court has instituted a committee for the case. Let them come out with a finding first. After that it is fine if he is even awarded with a Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian honour in the country),” Senkumar says.
Senkumar appears to be referring to the three-bench committee that was recently constituted by the Supreme Court, while declaring a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Narayanan. The committee, headed by retired SC judge DK Jain, was formed to enquire into the role of the Kerala Police in the arrest of Narayanan. Senkumar is named as the seventh accused in the complaint filed by Narayanan, where he demanded compensation for the fabricated case. Senkumar is one of the police officers accused of spinning a tale and implicating scientists including Nambi Narayanan in a false espionage case.
When Narayanan's name appeared on the list of Padma awardees on Friday night, Senkumar wasted no time in calling the media the next morning to ridicule the decision. “If this goes on, next year, we might hear about Govindachamy (rape and murder convict), Amirul Islam (rape and murder convict) and Mariam Rasheeda (another falsely accused in the ISRO spy scandal) getting Padma awards,” he says.
Govindachamy was convicted of the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman who was pushed down from a moving train in Kerala in 2011. Amirul Islam was convicted in the rape and murder of a Dalit woman at her house in Perumbavoor in 2016.
He noted that the scientists working at ISRO should be asked whether Narayanan deserved this award. “There are also many small inventions made, like recently I found out about this project of making hydrogen and oxygen out of water. But no one takes such small contributions seriously. None of them would get an award.”
Narayanan was known for his work on the development of the Vikas engine, which would be used for the first PSLV that India launched. In 1994, Narayanan, who was the head of the cryogenic division, was arrested and charged with espionage. He was accused of selling state secrets comprising confidential test data from rocket and satellite launches. He claimed that he was repeatedly interrogated by the Kerala Police, the IB and then the CBI, and suffered mental torture.
The criticism, many say, is surprising, since Senkumar has recently pledged his affiliation towards the right wing, joining the Seva Bharati, a Sangh Parivar outfit. While Senkumar has been taking regular digs at the ruling Left government of the state, the Padma awards come from the Government of India, based on the recommendations made by a committee constituted by the Prime Minister.