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The ISRO Frame Up Case -Shruti Mishra

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

In late 1994, around 26 years ago two ISRO scientist, two Maldivian women and two businessmen were accused and arrested by the Kerala police on charges of spying, Narayanan Nambi was amongst one who was falsely accused of passing the documents, data and drawings of ISRO relating to Viking/Vikas engine technology, cryogenic engine technology and PSLV flight to Pakistan which was one among the very important technologies for India as India is the only country to develop cryogenic engine after USA, France, japan, china and Russia. In 1990 when India was making deal with the Russian agency for the transfer of technology and asked for the cryogenic engine which could help to launch the heavy satellites weighing 2500-3000 kg was denied by USA. This technology made India independent and not dependent on the other space agencies for the GSLV program and many other tasks. Cryogenic engine is basically the combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen which offers highest and efficient energy for the rocket engines by looking at all these facts it is clear as crystal that how much important this technology was for India and that is the reason why this case was taken on a serious note since 1994, but also the unnecessary arrest of Nambi Narayanan, one of the top scientist of ISRO blew up his career and brought a drastic change in his career as well as in his personal life. Everybody started describing him as a spy and traitor and also questioned up on his character by stating he is one of those scientists who fall for the charms of women and fall into a honey trap set by two Maldivian women who were alleged of spying and stealing India’s rocket secret and selling them to the Pakistan. This scandal broken Narayan’s wife so much that she slipped into depression and stopped talking to everyone, all these allegations up on his husband broken her completely and affected her mental health. On 1st December 1994 he was told that he is under arrest and was produced in the court and then remanded to the judicial custody for 11 days. His life got shattered and his reputation were torn to shreds. He was charged with violating India’s official secrets law and corruption and used to beaten up by his interrogators who make him stand forcibly and answer to the questions for 30 hours on end, he was even taken for the lie detector test the result of which even can’t be admitted as an evidence, he was basically harassed by them to the extent. After spending his 50 days in the prison his case was taken over by the CBI from Kerala intelligence bureau. He finally secured bail on 19th January 1995 and just a year after that CBI exonerated him and five others saying that there was no evidence stolen and sold from the space agency and neither any drawings or data were missing from ISRO. After this he tried to get back to his normal life and went to back to work for ISRO but local government tried to reopen the case and dragged in the supreme court of India which finally got dismissed in 1998 and got declared him not guilty. As Narayanan suffered a lot during all these and also got defamed, he sued the Kerala government for this and was awarded five million rupees. The government also said that it would surely pay him 13million rupees as the amount of compensation for his unlawful arrest and harassment while in police custody. This conspiracy still didn’t come to an end and again in 2018 an investigation against him was set to begin which was dismissed by supreme court of India saying that it’s a criminal frame up based upon some kind of fancy or notion which smothered Narayanan career. It’s been around almost 26 years of this case and again in 2020, a three member committee of supreme court which was constituted in 2018 named as D.K. Jain committee got scheduled to begin to unravel the rouge officials responsible for this infamous case of 1994 on December 14 and 15. The court also allowed the Centre and state to nominate one officer each to the committee and by this D.K. prasad and V.S Senthil appointed by the Centre and the state respectively as the member of the D.K. Jain committee of the supreme court of India. Undoubtedly, this fake spy scandal completely changed Narayanan life where his career, personal life, honour, dignity, reputation, happiness and joy lost somewhere all at once. However, between all these false implications Nambi Narayanan has been conferred with the Padma Bhushan in the year 2019 which is the third highest civilian award in the republic of India.


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