By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 15: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 1994 espionage case against former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Nambi Narayanan.

Narayanan has welcomed the federal agency probe into the alleged police conspiracy to implicate him in the case. “I am happy. I sought a central agency probe that led to the conspiracy that delayed the country’s cryogenic project” the former ISRO scientist said in Thiruvananthapuram, according to the Hindustan Times.

The Supreme Court was hearing Centre’s plea seeking consideration of the report filed by a high-level committee regarding the role of erring police officials in the 1994 espionage case relating to Nambi Narayanan, who had been acquitted and was eventually awarded ₹50 lakh compensation by the top court in in 2018.

On April 5, the Centre moved the top court seeking urgent hearing and consideration of the panel’s report terming it as a “national issue”.

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar accepted the report by the committee it had appointed and asked the CBI to carry out further investigation in the case, which involves allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India’s space programme to foreign countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

The court had appointed the panel on September 14, 2018 and directed the Kerala government to cough up ₹50 lakh compensation for compelling former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan to undergo “immense humiliation”.

The committee was told to take appropriate steps against the culpable officials for causing “tremendous harassment” and “immeasurable anguish” to the scientist and had directed the Centre and state government to nominate one officer each in the panel, according to news agency PTI.

The court had termed the police action against Nambi Narayanan a “psycho-pathological treatment” and said that his “liberty and dignity”, basic to his human rights, were jeopardised as he was taken into custody and, eventually, was compelled to face “cynical abhorrence”, according to the agency. The CBI, in its probe, had held that the then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for Narayanan’s illegal arrest.

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