CBI registers FIR against Kerala officials in Nambi Narayanan Isro spy case

The CBI has registered an FIR against various Kerala officials in the 1994 espionage case against former Isro scientist Dr S Nambi Narayanan. The CBI has submitted a sealed copy of its preliminary report to the Supreme Court.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday told the Supreme Court that an FIR has been registered against various Kerala officials in the 1994 espionage case against former Isro scientist Dr S Nambi Narayanan.

The CBI filed the FIR based on the findings of the Justice DK Jain Committee. The central agency submitted a sealed copy of its preliminary report to the Supreme Court on Monday. However, the top court said the CBI cannot base its FIR on the basis of Justice DK Jain Committee and directed the agency to initiate an independent probe as per law.

A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said, “After perusing the report, this court was convinced that investigation needs to be taken up by CBI. Now CBI has to conduct inquiry.”

The bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, that the copy of the FIR needs to be uploaded on the CBI website. SG Tushar Mehta said the FIR copy will be uploaded by the end of the day.

The apex court also dissolved the Justice DK Jain Committee, stating its report will not be made public and the CBI is free to take action.

Senior advocate TR Subramaniam, appearing for accused Kaliswaran, demanded a copy of the DK Jain Committee report based on which the FIR has been filed.

To this, the Supreme Court said, “The report is only initial information. The CBI has to conduct its own investigation. We cannot rely fully on the report. The DK Jain Committee report is not the basis to prosecute you.”

Advocate Amit Shar, appearing for accused Siby Mathews, said, “After registration of the FIR, I have availed the legal remedy and filed anticipatory bail before the lower court. When the lower court asked for the relevant documents, the CBI said they cannot give the report. We don’t have anything. The hearing is today.”

“We are not concerned with that. The CBI has to conduct its own investigation,” the bench said.

What is the 1994 espionage case involving Nambi Narayanan?

In 1994, Dr S Nambi Narayanan, who was then chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) Cryogenics Division, was charged with leaking confidential information pertaining to India’s space development to foreign agents. Nambi Narayanan and five others, including two Maldivian women, were accused of selling confidential “flight test data” for millions to foreign agents.

Nambi Narayanan was arrested in November 1994. A CBI probe later alleged that then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for Nambi Narayanan’s illegal arrest. In 1998, the Supreme Court also dismissed the charges against him.

In September 2018, the Supreme Court appointed a three-member panel headed by former Justice DK Jain while directing the Kerala government to pay Rs 50 lakh as compensation for compelling Nambi Narayanan to undergo “immense humiliation”.

Source: India Today

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