Nambi Narayanan to sue sleuths, seek Rs 1 crore

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Current Affairs

Excerpts from his meet-the-press programme at Kesari Memorial Trust Hall here on Wednesday:

Nambi Narayanan

Thiruvananthapuram: Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan wants to unfold the conspiracy behind the espionage case against him and others, and he will go ahead with the civil suit filed against the police and intelligence bureau officials seeking Rs 1 crore in compensation.

Mr Narayanan, who was recently awarded a compensation of Rs 50 lakh by the Supreme court, also defended his decision to take voluntary retirement before the spy case surfaced saying it's due to organisational issues.

Excerpts from his meet-the-press programme at Kesari Memorial Trust Hall here on Wednesday:

Q: Don’t you think that there was at least some spark for the smoke, especially since a team led by an officer like Siby Mathews, who had a good track record, arrested you?

A: There is smoke without fire too. The Supreme Court itself termed it as a malicious prosecution. Siby Mathews would have to answer this. The conspiracy needs to be unfolded. One thing I am sure, I am not a spy.

Q: Did you opt for voluntary retirement from service even before the ISRO case came up?

A: That is right, but had no connection with any espionage. It was purely an organisational matter as my promotion prospects in the organisation were uncertain owing to promotions overlooking seniority. Kasturi Rangan was made ISRO chairman overlooking the seniority of my then boss at LPSC...

Q: Did you opt for voluntary retirement from service even before the ISRO case came up?

A: That is right, but had no connection with any espionage. It was purely an organisational matter as my promotion prospects in the organisation were uncertain owing to promotions overlooking seniority. Kasturi Rangan was made ISRO chairman overlooking the seniority of my then boss at LPSC. It cast a shadow over my promotion prospects and hence I decided to opt for VRS. I am not that idiot to seek VRS if I was actually involved in any spying at ISRO.

Q: There was an allegation that a land phone connection in the name of one Kurian Kalathil was installed at your house while the spy allegation came up and the bimonthly bill of the phone was over Rs 40,000. What is the fact?

A: My son was working as an administrative officer with that person’s firm, and hence the phone connection was provided for my son’s use.

Q: Did Sibi Mathew apologised to you?

A: Soorya Krishnamoorthy conveyed to me that Siby Mathews wanted to meet me. Though I did not entertain it initially, he kept asking, and hence I agreed. Siby Mathews along with his wife came and met me, and he said he took steps in the case as per the instructions of his superior officer Madhusudanan. But Madhusudanan, who was one of my friends, had denied it.

Q: Though there were many police officers, IB officials and CBI officials were involved in the ISRO case probe, why is that only three police officials are being held responsible for the torture?  (the then DIG (Crimes) Siby Mathews, who headed the special team that probed the case, former DySP K. K. Joshua who was one of the many officers in it and former special branch inspector S. Vijayan).

A: In my civil suit seeking Rs 1 crore compensation, I have listed about 11 including IB officials who interrogated and tortured me. The three officials were held accountable not by me but the CBI.

During interrogation, some IB officials had even told me that if I could prove my innocence I could slap them with chappals. I have kept a set of chappals for the purpose. But I do not know the present whereabouts of those officers.

Q: Do you think that then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao intervened in the case owing to the involvement of his son?

A: That’s gossip. Narasimha Rao just wanted to ensure that the cryogenic project should happen. I was the project director, and I too wished that it's implemented despite pressures from America.

Q: Do you have any evidence for the conspiracy behind the case?

A: As you all know, the case had political repercussions that led to the fall of the then chief minister, K. Karunakaran. But I do not have any knowledge of such things. But Russia had backtracked from a cryogenic project contract with us. I was the director of the cryogenic project then. Though Russia had only stated that they were pulling back due to reasons beyond their limit, we could later learn that it was due to the pressure of America.

The media also played a crucial role in blowing up the case. Some journalists were fed with misleading information from some quarters and owing to lack of awareness about the topic they published such information as such. We even did not have cryogenic technology at that time. Even then it was alleged that the technology was being leaked out.  

Q: Do you hope the Justice D. K. Jain Committee appointed by the SC will unravel the conspiracies?

A:  Though the mandate given to the committee was to find out ways and means to take appropriate steps against the erring officials, it may also look into aspects that led to the fabrication of the case against me. Though I could prove my innocence, I wish the conspiracy behind my arrest was also unfolded.

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