A former ISRO scientist who has alleged mental cruelty and torture by the Kerala police after his arrest in 1994 in a spy scandal must be given Rs 50 lakh compensation, the Supreme Court ordered today. Nambi Narayanan was “arrested unnecessarily, harassed and subjected to mental cruelty,” said a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
The court has asked a former Supreme Court judge DK Jain to investigate his allegations against Kerala police officers.
The former ISRO or Indian Space Research Organisation scientist, now in his seventies, had petitioned the court saying he had been illegally detained and tortured.
He was in charge of the cryogenics division when he was charged with spying and arrested. The CBI, which took over the probe from the Kerala police in 1996, said the case against Nambi Narayanan was baseless, and closed it. The CBI report also listed several lapses committed by the police officers and recommended action against them.
In 1998, the top court granted compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Mr Narayanan and others who were discharged in the case. The state government was directed to pay the amount.
Nambi Narayanan’s petition in the Supreme Court challenged a high court order backing the Kerala government’s decision to drop action against police officers Siby Mathew, KK Joshua and S Vijayan.
Nambi Narayanan is said to have introduced the liquid fuel rocket technology in India in the early 1970s.
In 1994, Mr Narayanan was charged with leaking vital defence secrets to two alleged Maldivian intelligence officers. Defense officials claimed the secrets involved highly confidential “flight test data” from experiments with rocket and satellite launches.
Nambi Narayanan and another scientist, D Sasikumaran, were accused of selling ISRO secrets for millions.
Mr Narayanan was arrested and spent 50 days in jail. Later, the CBI investigated and said the charges were false. The Kerala government told the Supreme Court today it was willing to unconditionally abide by its order.