ISRO spy scandal: SC orders probe against Kerala cops for framing scientist

SC increases compensation for Nambi Narayanan who was acquitted in the case

Nambi Narayanan | File Nambi Narayanan | File

In a major setback for the Kerala Police, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered that it pay Rs 50 lakh as compensation to former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan for framing him in a spy scandal involving the space research organisation. 

The Supreme Court also appointed a committee to be headed by Justice D.K. Jain to probe the role of former Kerala ADGP Siby Mathews, and retired SPs K.K Joshua and S.Vijayan for conspiring against Narayanan.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra pronounced the judgement on Narayanan's plea in the Supreme Court. The former ISRO scientist, who was acquitted in the spy case, had approached the Supreme Court after a division bench of the Kerala High Court refused his plea.

The espionage case dates back to 1994 when Narayanan, along with another scientist D. Sasikumaran, was accused of selling classified information on India's cryogenic engine programme to Russia and Pakistan's ISI through two Maldivian women—Mariam Rasheeda and Fauzia Hassan—for which which he allegedly got sexual favours, too.

However, two years later, the CBI, which took over the case from a Special Investigation Team constituted to probe the case, dismissed all charges against him and slammed the IB and the Kerala Police for the fabricated case. Mathews, Joshua and Vijayan were even accused of implicating Narayanan in the false case. A few IB officers were also found responsible of conspiring against Narayanan.

The Kerala Government ordered the police to re-probe the matter, but the Supreme Court quashed it in 1998. Later, in 2011, the Oomen Chandy government in Kerala decided against taking any action against the three police officers.

Narayanan appealed against the state government's decision not to prosecute the officers. In 2014, the Kerala High Court quashed the government order and asked it to reconsider the decision.

But the officers appealed to a division bench of the High Court, which set aside the earlier order. It was against this order of the division bench that Narayanan appealed in the Supreme Court in 2015.