The Supreme Court on Friday imposed a stay on the arrest of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan observing that he had been detained "unnecessarily, harassed and subjected to mental cruelty" in connection to the 1994 espionage case, popularly known as ISRO spy case.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra also granted a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the 70-year-old space scientists for being harassed mentally and ordered a probe into the Kerala Police's role in it.
"ISRO scientist alleged spying case: Supreme Court says, "Arrest of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayan is needless and unnecessary,"; Court grants him a compensation of Rs 50 lakh," the news agency ANI reported.
The bench, which also comprises Justices AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, directed the Kerala government to pay the compensation amount within eight weeks from today.
Meanwhile, speaking to ANI, Narayanan, the senior official of the space research organisation said, "I am yet to see the judgment. All I know is that Rs 50 lakh will be given as compensation and a judicial inquiry will be conducted".
I am yet to see the judgement. All I know is that Rs 50 lakh will be given as compensation and a judicial inquiry will be conducted: ISRO scientist Nambi Narayan pic.twitter.com/HKWxkhyz6w— ANI (@ANI) September 14, 2018
The SC's decision came days after Narayanan moved the apex court challenging the judgment of the Kerala High Court, which did not order an action against former DGP Siby Mathews and two retired superintendents of police KK Joshua and S Vijayan, who were later held responsible by the CBI for the illegal arrest of Narayanan.
The 1994 espionage case, which sparked off a lot of controversies, refers to allegations of transferring certain confidential documents on India’s cryogenic programme to foreign countries like Russia and Pakistan by two scientists and four others. The spies, accused and detained in the case, include a Maldivian woman Mariam Rasheeda.
In 1998, the Supreme Court granted compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Narayanan and others, who were discharged in the case, and directed the state government to pay the amount. The scientist later approached the NHRC claiming compensation from the state government for the mental torture and suffering during the time.
The NHRC, after hearing both sides and considering the SC judgment of April 29, 1998, announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh in March 2001.