In a sensational judgement, the Supreme Court Friday today awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation to former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, saying he was “unnecessarily arrested and harassed” by the Kerala Police. The apex court has set up a committee under Justice DK Jain to look into Narayanan’s complaint against police officers who framed him. The Centre and state will nominate a member each to the committee.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud reserved its order in July after the CBI stated that it was ready for a court-monitored probe. Narayanan, then a scientist at ISRO, was arrested by the Kerala Police in November 1994 on accusations of espionage. Narayanan, however, was discharged from the case in 1996 after the Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the ISRO spy case, told a court that it had not found evidence to support the allegations against Narayanan. He was later exonerated by the Supreme Court.
Following the CBI’s declaration, all accused in the case, including another ISRO scientist D Sasikumaran, were acquitted of all charges. Later, Narayanan approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) saying that he had suffered mental agony and torture. The Commission awarded him interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh on March 14, 2001.
Narayanan had approached the apex court against a Kerala High Court’s judgment, stating that no action was required against officers associated with the investigation — former DGP Siby Mathews and former SPs K K Joshua and S Vijayan. All the officers have retired. Narayanan sought action against police officers who probed the espionage case against him.