NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the infamous ‘ISRO spy case’ on Friday morning, responding to a plea filed by former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan against police officers who had investigated the fabricated espionage case against him that destroyed his career 24 years ago.
The Supreme Court said that the “arrest of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayan was needless and unnecessary”.
The Supreme Court ordered the State of Kerala to pay him Rs. 50 lakh as compensation within the next eight weeks for loss of his fundamental right to live with dignity and self-respect for all these years since his arrest on November 30, 1994.
The apex court also constituted a committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge DK Jain to investigate Narayanan’s allegations against Kerala police officers.
“You cannot call me a criminal, traitor anymore… They (those who framed me) should be ashamed of what they have done… It caused tremendous mental torture and humiliation…. The Supreme Court judgement has brought me peace of mind … I am very old now… I want to spend some time at least now with my family”, Mr Narayanan told media.
In 1994, Narayanan was charged with leaking vital defence secrets to Maldivian intelligence officers. Defence officials said the secrets pertained to highly confidential “flight test data” from experiments with rocket and satellite launches. Nambi Narayanan was one of two scientists who was accused of selling ISRO secrets for millions.
At the time of his arrest on November 30, 1994, Mr. Narayanan was working on cryogenic engine technology at ISRO.
In his 32-page judgment for the Bench, Chief Justice Misra said Mr. Narayanan’s case was that of a “successful scientist of national reputation compelled to undergo immense humiliation”. The court refers to the treatment meted out to the scientist while he was in custody as “psycho-pathological”.
“The criminal law was set in motion without any basis… His liberty and dignity, basic to his human rights, were jeopardised… Despite all the glory of the past, he was compelled to face cynical abhorrence”, Chief Justice Misra wrote.