ISRO Espionage Case

On April 15, 2021, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into the role of Kerala Police officers in framing Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 Espionage Case. Nambi Narayanan was a scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation.

When did ISRO Espionage case begin?

The case began with the arrest of Maldivian woman Mariam Rashida in 1994. She was arrested on the charges of overstaying her visa. Her arrest led to the arrest of Narayanan. Nambi Narayanan was the director of the cryogenic project lab of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Why was Nambi Narayanan arrested?

  • In 1994, Nambi Narayanan was charged for leaking vital defence secrets to Maldivian intelligence officers Fauzia Hassan and Mariam Rashida. He was accused of selling confidential flight test data from the experiments with satellite and rocket launches. He was arrested and he spent fifty days in jail.
  • In May 1996, the charges against the scientist were dismissed. It was later dismissed in Supreme Court in April 1998.
  • In 1999, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) passed strictures against the Kerala Government for damaging Narayanan’s career in space research. He was then given desk job at ISRO.
  • In 2001, the National Human Rights Commission ordered the Kerala Government to pay a compensation of Rs 1 crore. He then retired in 2001.

Narayanan’s fight for Justice

In 2013, Narayanan pushed to get justice and bring out the people involved in framing a false case on him. In 2018, the Supreme court appointed a three-member panel to probe the case. Later a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra ordered to award Rs 50 lakh compensation for the mental cruelty suffered by the scientist all these years.

In 2019, GoI conferred Padma Bhushan to Nambi Narayanan.


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