ISRO spy case: Kerala to decide on future course of action



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The Kerala government will seek legal opinion on the Kerala High Court’s ruling quashing the state government’s order to drop charges against three retired police officers who had implicated and arrested scientist S. Nambi Narayanan in the ISRO espionage case.
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here Tuesday that they are yet to get the details of Monday’s court directive. “Once we get it, we will discuss it and then seek legal opinion on how to go about it,” said Chennithala.
A division bench of Justice A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai, acting on a petition of former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Narayanan, directed the state government to reconsider its decision to drop case against the three police officers and submit a report within three months.
The case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan along with another top official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman was arrested on espionage charges.
The case rocked the then K. Karunakaran government and deep factionalism in the party led to a rather unceremonious exit of Karunakaran in 1995. He was replaced by A.K. Antony.
Then the Congress party was divided between the Antony faction, led by Oommen Chandy, and the Karunakaran faction.
Chandy quit as finance minister in 1994 owing to difference of opinion with Karunakaran and soon after that came the non-existent spy case.
The Antony faction, thanks to a blistering media campaign, claimed Karunakaran was shielding Raman Srivatsava, a top police official, alleged to have links in the spy case.
Scientist Narayanan ever since the CBI cleared him in 1995 has been fighting a legal battle against the three police officials.
“I filed the case against these police officials because it was they who hounded me in the case. The government here has always taken a soft stand against these officials, who were given promotions and plum postings and now the only thing left is to give these officials ‘Bharat Ratna’,” said the bitter scientist.
It was in 2011 that the Chandy government decided not to take action against three police officers and it was against this move that Narayanan approached the court and got a fresh direction.
The three police officials in question are Siby Mathews, K.K. Joshua and S. Vijayan, who have all now retired. Mathews is currently the state chief information commissioner.
Expressing happiness was Padmaja Venugopal, daughter of Karunakaran, who said she only knew how hurt and sad was her father over the way the case unfurled then.
“I do not want to speculate on what the present government will do. We will wait and see what is going to be done,” said Venugopal who is currently a general secretary of the Congress party here, while her brother K. Muraleedharan is a party legislator.

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