Two Years After Appointment, Supreme Court Panel Begins Probe in ISRO Spy Case (11-12-2020)

Two years after the Supreme Court directed a three-member committee under retired SC judge D.K. Jain to probe if there was a conspiracy among the then police officials to falsely implicate top ISRO space scientist S.Nambi Narayanan, will have its first sitting in the state capital on December 14 and 15.

It was in 2018 a bench of the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud decided to appoint a committee under Jain and asked the Centre and the Kerala government to name one person each to the committee under Jain.

“I do not know if I will be contacted as their job is to find out if there was any conspiracy and it's not just the three former Kerala police officials, as there are others also. Maybe the committee was doing the groundwork to help them go forward in their probe, I do not know,” said the now retired scientist, when in 2019 the country awarded him the Padma Bhushan.

The ISRO spy case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan was arrested on charges of espionage along with another senior official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman.

The CBI cleared him in 1995 and since then he has been fighting a legal battle against the then top police official Siby Mathews and other officials which include S. Vijayan and K.K. Joshua, who probed the case and implicated Narayanan.

Sibi Mathew later reached the rank of the Director General of Police and took VRS, months before he was to have superannuated and became the Chief Information Officer of the state. He has since retired from that post and is now settled in the state capital city.

Incidentally this case took place when the factional feud in the Congress party between the K.Karunakaran and the A.K. Antony factions led by Oommen Chandy was at its zenith. Karunakaran had to quit the office in 1995 after it was found out that he was shielding his close aide and senior police officer Raman Srivastava, who later became the state police chief and after retirement, he is today the advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

It now remains to be seen if the three-member committee as part of its probe will call up journalists, who then had written juicy tales about this case. The highlight of one such report was that consequent to the spy case, it would be doubtful if the ISRO unit here would even be able to function properly after many space secrets were leaked.

___________


11 Dec 2020