Days after his government honoured Nambi Narayanan, the celebrated ISRO scientist with Padma Bhushan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the scientist was falsely implicated by Kerala leaders to settle political score. “More than two decades ago, a hardworking and patriotic ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan was implicated in a false case, just because a few UDF leaders were settling political scores. Imagine, for their own politics, they damaged national interest, troubled a scientist,” the Prime Minister said while addressing a rally in Kerala’s Thrissur on Sunday. The UDF or United Democratic Front is a Congress-led alliance in Kerala.
“It is an honour that our government had the opportunity of conferring a Padma Award on Nambi Narayanan. We value each and every person who is working to make India stronger. For them, science can be abused as spying; for us, science is a matter of national pride,” Prime Minister added.
On Republic Day, the Narendra Modi government announced Padma Bhushan, they third highest civilian award for Narayanan. From being a celebrated ISRO scientist to being branded a 'spy' and finally awarded with the Padma Bhushan, Nambi Narayanan Saturday said he was glad that his work in the Indian space arena was finally recognised. "My name became famous because of 'spying' charges. Now I am glad that my contribution has been recognised by the government," he was quoted as saying by Pres Trust of India.
On the eve of the 70th Republic Day, his name featured on the list of 112 personalities selected for the Padma awards. The 77-year-old had played a critical role in the development of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle and in the initial phase of making cryogenic engines.
In 1994, his career took a turn for worse, when he was embroiled in an espionage case. The case was connected to 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 case was first investigated by Kerala police and later handed over to the CBI, which found no espionage as was alleged to have taken place.
The lengthy legal battle ended last year with the Supreme Court cleared all charges against Narayanan and directing the Kerala government to give Rs 50 lakh compensation to the scientist.
(With agency inputs)