After years of humiliation, having been falsely dubbed as a spy and sent to jail, former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan is a happy man now. After the Supreme Court cleared his name in the espionage case last year and ordered the government to compensate him, the Central government has honoured him with the prestigious Padma Bhushan.
“Now I am getting recognition from all sides. First the Supreme Court cleared me, then the Kerala government came up to me and now the Centre has also accepted me,” said Narayanan, while speaking to the media at his Thiruvananthapuram house late on Friday.
Falsely implicated in the infamous ISRO spy case, Narayanan was arrested in December 1994 and had to spend 50 days in jail. He had been accused of selling state secrets like confidential test data from rocket and satellite launches.
Last year, the Supreme Court awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation for his travails, as it directed setting up of a committee to inquire into the role of erring officials who Nambi Narayanan accused of implicating him in the case.
The accused officials include then IG Siby Mathews, and then deputy superintendent of police KK Joshua and S Vijayan.
The ISRO spy case dates back to 1994 when Nambi Narayanan, along with another top ISRO official, two Maldivian women and a businessman was arrested on espionage charges. The CBI cleared him in 1995 and since then Narayanan has been fighting a legal battle against Siby Mathews and other police officers.
One of them, former Kerala DGP TP Senkumar, criticised the decision to honour Narayanan with the Padma Bhushan.
“The Supreme Court has instituted a committee for the case. Let them come out with a finding first. After that it is fine if he is even awarded with a Bharat Ratna,” several media reports quoted Senkumar as saying.
In Narayanan’s complaint, Senkumar is listed as the seventh accused.
Soon after the announcement of the award, Senkumar lashed out at the former ISRO scientist. He went on to equate Narayanan with rape and murder accused.
“If this goes on, next year, we might hear about Govindachamy, Amirul Islam and Mariam Rasheeda getting Padma awards,” he said.
Govindachamy was convicted of the rape and murder of a woman in Kerala in 2011, while Amirul Islam was convicted in a 2016 rape-murder case.
Senkumar’s comments have received flak from all quarters. The former DGP criticising the NDA government decision, however, came as a surprise as he had recently joined the Seva Bharati, a Sangh Parivar outfit. Only days ago, he came out strongly against women’s entry into Sabarimala temple, castigating the Left Front government in the state.
Nambi Narayanan’s story is being made into a film titled Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. R Madhvan will be playing the scientist.
The film is still on the floor, and the actor has said the script won’t be changed to incorporate the Padma award