Hours after the Supreme Court ordered that a former ISRO scientist be given Rs 50-lakh compensation for the harassment and mental torture he underwent in a purported case of espionage, he accused certain Kerala police officers of fabricating the charges against him without getting any of the "fundamentals" right.
Nambi Narayanan, 77, who was in charge of the cryogenics division when he was arrested for alleged spying in 1994, cited several points to buttress his assertion that he had been framed. "The main charge was that I had sold the cryogenic technology to Pakistan, and the second concerned the Vikas Engine (a workhorse liquid rocket mechanism that powers a number of Indian satellite launch vehicles). But the cryogenic technology did not even exist in 1994. Secondly, the Vikas Engine is available for the asking -- if you approach the same company that worked with us, you can get it for Rs 1 crore," he told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Mr Narayanan's petition in the Supreme Court had challenged a high court order backing the Kerala government's decision to drop proceedings against police officers Siby Mathew, KK Joshua and S Vijayan. The Pinarayi Vijayan regime told the Supreme Court today that it was willing to unconditionally abide by the order.
The former ISRO scientist said that while the Supreme Court judgment has brought him "peace of mind", he still had the option of pursuing his civil suit. "Both these stories were fabricated, and I want to know what they did it for," he added.
Mr Narayanan said things had changed for the better, now that he was "armed" with the Supreme Court judgment. "You can't say anymore that I am a criminal anymore. You can't tell me that I have done this, I have done that -- that would amount to contempt of court," he remarked.
The former scientist, however, acknowledged the fact that age had caught up with him, and he may not be able to pursue the case with as much enthusiasm. "I am going to keep my cool. I have achieved one of my major goals, and the other things are minor in nature. I will have to discuss and think about them," he said. "I would like to live whatever is left of my life with my family and loved ones."
Mr Narayanan had to spend 50 days in jail after he and another scientist -- D Sasikumaran -- were charged with espionage in 1994. Prior to that, he had been a respected scientist known for pioneering liquid fuel rocket technology in the early 70s.
The CBI, which took over the probe from the Kerala Police in 1996, later closed the case against Mr Narayanan after dubbing it "baseless". A report filed by the investigative agency also listed several lapses committed by police officers and recommended action against them.
The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra has now asked former top court judge DK Jain to investigate Mr Narayanan's allegations against the officers.