Former ISRO scientist moves HC, demands justice for illegal arrest in spying case
The former ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan, moved the Kerala High Court on Wednesday, seeking initiation of criminal and disciplinary action against the Kerala police officials held responsible by the CBI for his illegal arrest. He was accused of being involved in espionage at the Indian Space Research Organisation but later discharged from the case.
In his petition, Mr. Narayanan pointed out that the CBI in its report had recommended action against Siby Mathew, former Additional Director General of Police, and retired Superintendents of Police, Joshua and S. Vijayan, who had launched the initial investigation. Action was yet to be taken against them, though the CBI submitted its report 15 years ago.
The petitioner said the government had issued an order holding that no disciplinary action need be taken against the investigation officers for their alleged lapses. Its stand was that the CBI had not specifically recommended any disciplinary action and only suggested any action deemed fit.
‘Criminal action should’ve been initiated’
Mr. Narayanan said the government should have initiated both criminal and disciplinary action. As a result of the false case, the country had lost billio'ns of dollars from the commercial space market. The government had allowed Mr. Siby Mathew to occupy the top post of State Chief Information Commissioner. According to Mr. Narayanan, Mr. Mathew had exerted pressure on the government to issue the order.
The charges of espionage at ISRO surfaced with the arrest of a Maldivian national, Mariam Rasheeda, in Thiruvananthapuram in October 1994. The other accused were another former senior scientist of ISRO and two Bangalore-based businessmen, and another Maldivian woman, Fousia Hassan.
The Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate had in 1996 discharged all the accused from the case on the basis of the CBI report exonerating them. The CBI had concluded that there was no evidence to prove the espionage charges. However, in June 1996, the State government had ordered reinvestigation into the case. Though the High Court had upheld the government order, the Supreme Court quashed it in 1998. The Supreme Court had taken the State government to task for ordering yet another investigation by the State police after the CBI probe found that the allegations were false and the magistrate court ordered the release of all the accused.