BIG FIGHT WON, NAMBI NARAYANAN TO MOVE ON
WANTS TO SPEND TIME WITH HIS FAMILY AFTER SC DIRECTS KERALA GOVT TO PAY HIM `50 L RELIEF FOR SUBJECTING HIM TO INTENSE HUMILIATION
WITH the long-awaited Supreme Court verdict finally out on Friday, wronged space scientist S Nambi Narayanan says it is high time he did something that he had been putting off for 24 years.
The court on Friday directed the Kerala government to pay him `50 lakh compensation for subjecting him to immese humiliation and ordered a high-level probe to take the erring police officers to task.
‘’I’ve not spent time with my family. Now I want to do that. What little is left of my life, I want to spend with them. I don’t want to pursue this any further,’’ he says.
For the former scientist branded a spy in the infamous
ISRO spy scandal of 1994 but fully exonerated by the Supreme Court four years later - the past 24 years have been an excruciating trial by fire. Although the CBI and the Supreme Court had cleared him of all charges by 1998, unlike Friday’s verdict, there was no directive to go after the police officers responsible for his incarceration, Nambi Narayanan points out.
At one point back then, he recalls, he had even contemplated suicide. But his children suspected as much and dissuaded him from doing so. “They said you’re the only person who can prove your innocence. If you die, we’ll die as the children of a spy. That’s how I got the determination to fight. I was determined to
prove my innocence,’’ he says.
At the time of his arrest, he was holding several crucial posts in ISRO, including that of cryogenic project director. As for his family, “they suffered silently. They couldn’t go
out or attend any social functions. People don’t understand the magnitude of that suffering. That’s the whole problem,’’ he remembers. And he was financially broke.
But he also remembers the kindness showered upon by his neighbours during that period. “They were very kind. In fact, they actually guarded my house, coming and staying with my wife Meena,” he recalls.
After his acquittal, he was offered ‘inferior’ positions at ISRO. Rather than suffering it, he chose a desk job at the ISRO headquarters in Bangalore. That was in 1996. He retired from ISRO five years later, which was when he began a big battle that climaxed with Friday’s verdict.
There can be no scintilla of doubt that the appellant, a successful scientist having national reputation, was compelled to undergo immense humiliation... put(ing) him in police custody has made the appellant to suffer the ignominy — SC bench
THE Supreme Court on Friday ordered compensation of `50 lakh to the former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan and held that he was unnecessarily arrested and was a victim of malicious prosecution due to a sham espionage case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra ordered Kerala government to cough up the compensation in 8 weeks for loss of his fundamental right to live with dignity and self-respect since his arrest on November 30, 1994.
It has also given liberty to Narayanan to pursue his civil suit separately for more compensation if he so desires.
Penning down the judgement on his own, the CJI said, “There can be no scintilla of doubt that the appellant, a successful scientist having national reputation, has been compelled to undergo immense humiliation. The lackadaisical attitude of the State police to arrest anyone and
put him in police custody has made the appellant to suffer the ignominy.”
“The dignity of a person gets shocked when psychopathological treatment is meted out to him. A human being cries for justice when he feels that the insensible act has crucified his self-respect. That warrants grant of compensation under the public law remedy. The court cannot lose sight of the wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution, the humiliation and the defamation faced by the appellant,” the court ruled.
The bench directed for constitution of a three-member committee, headed by retired SC judge D K Jain, to investigate into the role of the Kerala police officers, who played pivotal role in implicating the former ISRO scientist in the spying case. The Centre and State will nominate a member each to the committee.
Narayanan has been fighting since 1994, first to clear his name in an espionage case and then for compensation.
Nambi Narayanan at his residence in Thiruvananthapuram |