Kerala

CBI opens enquiry against retired law enforcers responsible for wrongful prosecution of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan

Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has opened a criminal enquiry against a set of former law enforcement officials responsible for the police frame-up that led to the wrongful arrest, custodial torture and unjustified incarceration of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan and others in 1994.

Last month, the CBI had filed a First Information Report (FIR) marked as classified in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (Thiruvananthapuram), R. Rekha.

The FIR named Siby Mathews, who then headed the "ISRO Spy Case" Special Investigation Team (SIT), his deputies, K. K. Joshua, and S. Vijayan and Thampi. S. Durgadutt, and the then Deputy Director, Intelligence Bureau, R. B. Sreekumar, as accused in the police frame-up case initiated by the Supreme Court. The accused were now retired.

The SC had in 2018 ordered the Kerala government to pay Mr. Narayanan a compensation of ₹50 lakh for ruining his life and reputation.

The Apex court also constituted a three-member committee under Justice D. K. Jain to identify those responsible for the wrongful incarceration of Mr. Narayanan. In April, the Central government requested the SC to take cognisance of the Jain committee report and initiate suitable action.

Consequently, it forwarded the judicial panel's findings to the CBI stating that they were grave and merited a thorough investigation.

The controversial page in the history of the police investigation and criminal prosecution in Kerala commenced with the arrest of two Maldivian women on the charge of overstay and infringement of the Official Secrets Act in Thiruvananthapuram in November 1994. Soon, the police arrested two ISRO scientists, Mr. Narayanan and D. Sasikumaran, along with two others.

The Kerala police claimed the women were spies of a foreign power. They alleged the foreign agents had entrapped the scientists into parting with secret space technology.

Want of evidence

The CBI took over the case in December 1994. It closed the case for want of evidence. The SC upheld the closure report. It said Kerala police had set criminal law into motion without any basis. The SC termed the prosecution as malicious and based on "notions of fancy".

At the time of their arrest and incarceration, Mr. Narayanan and Mr. Sasikumaran were rising stars in the ISRO and deeply involved in the procurement of cryogenic technology. The SC took into account their suffering and loss of dignity at the hands of the Kerala police.


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 7:08:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cbi-opens-enquiry-against-retired-law-enforcers-responsible-for-wrongful-prosecution-of-former-isro-scientist-nambi-narayanan/article34946141.ece

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