Life has restored back to normal for Nambi Narayanan, who is a former lead scientist at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Those were nightmare days for Nambi Narayanan who was dragged away in a police jeep. From being called a ‘spy’ to being bestowed with the third highest civilian honour of the country, life has indeed come full circle for him.
Narayanan, who was a top scientist at ISRO, was in total charge of the cryogenics division and was leading the development of the liquid technology, a key technology in rocket propulsion that is being positioned in GSLV when he was arrested in December 1994 in the ISRO espionage case.
It has been said that he along with four others were arrested on charges of ‘leaking vital defence secrets’ including drawings of ISRO’s Vikas engine as well as cryogenic technology to Pakistan’s two alleged Maldivian intelligence officers- Mariam Rasheeda and Fauzia Hassan.
In the 50 days, he was in custody, the former scientist alleged that he was tortured and pressurized to only give false statements to incriminate others in the case.
Nonetheless, the CBI which later took over the investigation found no such proof/evidence against him. When the case come up for hearing it was thrown out to the CBI Court in the year 1996, which in succession, he was declared ‘innocent’ by the Supreme Court in 1998 and then granted him a compensation of Rs 1 lakhs.
However, Narayanan challenged the compensation amount in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The Kerala High Court ordered a compensation amount of Rs 10 lakhs to be given or paid to Nambi Narayanan according to an appeal from NHRC India in September 2012.
In September 2018, the Supreme Court awarded a compensation of Rs 50 lakhs to him and constituted a committee led by retired SC judge D K Jain to further inquire into the role of investigating officials in implicating him in the case. Though he brought back by the ISRO after his discharge, Narayana was never given any big position in the organization.