On Wednesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said to Kerala High Court that the false implication of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan impacted the technological development of cryogenic in the country.
According to the reports, the CBI appeared before the Kerala High Court to oppose the bail pleas of two former Kerala Police officers, who were involved in the arrest of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in a 1994 espionage case. Opposing the bail, the CBI said that these two officers falsely implicated him Nambi Narayana in a “concocted case” that led to a delay in the development of India’s cryogenic technology.
In its submission, the central investigative agency said that the offences against the two former police officers are serious in nature as they both “played an active role and concocted an espionage case in pursuance of the conspiracy” against Nambi Narayanan in the ISRO spy case.
“The nature and gravity of the offences, alleged against the petitioners (S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt) also had a big impact on the technological development of cryogenic technology, which was delayed due to false implication of Nambi Narayanan and news related to it,” the CBI said.
Case is linked to national interest, says CBI opposing bail to former Kerala police officials
Further, in its plea, the CBI said that since the case is linked to national interest and the crime is committed against a scientist, society at large has an interest in this case.
In its statement, CBI contended that the interim bail petition of two retired Kerala Police officers might “scuttle the due process of law” and granting them relief was “premature” and “not sustainable”.”It is just being filed with the sole motive to get away from the clutches of law,” the agency has said.
The CBI said they have reason to believe that once interim bails are granted to them, these former officers will not cooperate with the probe and may derail the pace of the investigation as they are still very influential.
The case pertains to espionage charges levelled by Kerala police officials against Nambi Narayanan and his associates in 1994. The police had then alleged that Nambi and his colleagues had transferred confidential documents on India’s space programme to foreign countries, particularly Pakistan.
In addition to Vijayan and Dutt, 16 others, including Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers, were named as accused in the case registered by the agency for various offences, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and fabrication of evidence, under the Indian Penal Code, in connection with arrest and detention of Narayanan.
Nambi Narayanan – the victim of politico-bureacracy nexus
It is pertinent to note that scientist Nambi Narayan was a victim of persecution by the Congress party. The political rivalry between the two factions of the Kerala Congress party led to the arrest of Narayanan, along with two other scientists D Sasikumaran and K Chandrasekhar, in November 1994. The Kerala police had levelled espionage charges under sections 3,4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act against the scientists.
However, the CBI, in its probe, found that the allegations against him were false. In 1998, the Supreme Court upheld the findings by the CBI and had asked the Kerala government to pay Rs 1 lakh in compensation to Narayanan and others. However, Dr Narayanan had approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)seeking justice for the harassment and agony meted out to him. In 2001, the NHRC had awarded a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs to him.
While absolving Narayanan of any wrongdoing, the CBI had said that Siby Mathews had left “the entire investigation to IB surrendering his duties” and ordered the indiscriminate arrest of the scientist and others without adequate evidence”.
In 2018, the Supreme Court had ordered a high-level probe to investigate the role of erring police officials in the espionage case relating to Nambi Narayanan. In April this year, the court had directed the CBI to take over the probe and conduct further investigation in the case.
The three-member committee, headed by former top court judge Justice (retd) DK Jain, was appointed by the top court in 2018 after acquitting Narayanan in the case. In addition, the apex court had also ordered the Kerala government to pay Rs.50 lakh as compensation for compelling Nambi Narayanan to undergo “immense humiliation”.
In 2019, the Union government led by Narendra Modi finally awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan to Nambi Narayanan on the occasion of 70th Republic Day in 2019. Later in December 2019, the Kerala government approved to provide compensation of Rs 1.3 crore to former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan for his wrongful arrest and harassment by the Kerala Police in the 1994 spying case.