ISRO spy case: SC orders Rs 50 lakh compensation to scientist

By Agency Published on Sep 14, 2018 02:12 PM IST

File photo of ex-ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today held that former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Nambi Narayanan was "arrested unnecessarily, harassed and subjected to mental cruelty" in a 1994 espionage case and ordered a probe into the role of Kerala police officers.

The bench awarded compensation of Rs 50 lakh to 76-year-old Narayanan for being subjected to mental cruelty.

Narayanan had approached the apex court to appeal against the judgement of the Kerala High Court, which had said no action was required to be taken against the former Director General of Police and two retired superintendents of police, K K Joshua and S Vijayan, later held responsible by the CBI for the scientist's illegal arrest.

In 1998, the apex court granted compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Narayanan and others named in the case, and directed the State to pay the amount.

He later approached the National Human Rights Commission claiming compensation from the State government for the mental agony and torture suffered by him.

The NHRC, after hearing both sides and taking into account the apex court judgement of 29 April 1998, had awarded him interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh in March 2001.

File photo of Supreme Court of India.

SEX, SPICE AND SCANDAL

The Supreme Court also set up a committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice D K Jain to inquire into the role of Kerala police officials in the arrest of the scientist.

Reacting to the court order, Narayanan said, "I am happy justice has prevailed." Former DGP Sibi Mathew refused to comment.

The scientist was arrested after the Kerala police arrested Mariam Rasheeda, a Maldivian woman, on 20 October 1994. Though she was arrested for overstaying in India, police later accused her of being involved in a sex-spy scandal.

It was alleged that Rasheeda was the intermediary between the organisation and two more women. She was accused of passing on ISRO’s cryogenic programme secrets to the women, who in turn supplied it to Russia and Pakistan’s ISI.