The Supreme Court on Thursday (April 15) ordered that the report of a committee on the role of erring police officers in the 1994 espionage case involving ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan should be given to the CBI for further investigation.
The court said the CBI could treat the panel’s findings as part of preliminary investigation, asking the agency to submit its report within three months.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the report of the three-member panel, headed by former SC judge Justice (retd) DK Jain, should be kept in a sealed cover and not be published.
Narayanan, now 79, was arrested in November 1994 while working on cryogenic engine technology at ISRO. Kerala Police had accused of him of passing information to Pakistan.
Welcoming the SC decision, Narayanan said the CBI must expose the conspirators behind the case. “I’ll get justice only when action is taken based on the findings in the investigation. I had sought a CBI investigation earlier. There is no point if the conspirators in the case are not exposed. Many people are involved in the case and the role of IB officials should also be investigated,” he said.
“The espionage case and the conspiracy had in fact delayed the ISRO’s cryogenic project. The project, which would have been launched in 1999, was delayed and launched around 15 years later. This should have been avoided,” he said.
In 2019, Narayanan was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third-highest civilian award. The scientist was instrumental in developing the Vikas engine that was used for the first PSLV that India launched.
In 1994, he was falsely charged with espionage and arrested. The charges against him were dismissed by the CBI in April 1996. The SC declared him not guilty in 1998.
In 2018, the court awarded Narayanan a compensation of ₹50 lakh to be recovered from the Kerala government within eight weeks. The court also constituted a committee headed by Justice Jain to enquire into the role of Kerala Police officials in the arrest of Narayanan.