Former Kerala police chief blames intelligence officials for forcing him to arrest ISRO scientist in 1994 fake espionage case
S Vijayan, who was among the 18 former policemen booked last month for allegedly framing scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) espionage case, has accused the latter of influencing the probe into the matter through “financial transactions” with a federal investigator in the 1990s. He made the claims in his anticipatory bail plea in the Kerala high court on Wednesday and produced purported documents of land transferred to the then deputy inspector general of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who probed the case in the 1990s and exonerated Narayanan.
The claims came on the day former Kerala Police chief Sibi Mathews accused Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research And Analysis Wing (RAW) officials of pressurising him to arrest Narayanan in the espionage case. He made the claim in his anticipatory bail application filed in the Thiruvananthapuram district court on Wednesday.
Mathews was a deputy inspector general and headed the special investigation team that investigated the espionage case. The CBI booked former IB deputy director R B Sreekumar, Mathews, Vijayan, and 16 other policemen in June for allegedly framing Narayanan.
The Supreme Court ordered the CBI to investigate the conspiracy behind the framing while calling the matter serious. It said the case required “deeper investigation” into the role of the police officers responsible while accepting the report of a committee the court constituted in 2018 to probe the circumstances that led to the framing.
Narayanan, 79, was arrested in 1994 in the alleged espionage case. He was exonerated two years later after a CBI probe. Narayanan was arrested after his phone numbers were found in a diary recovered from two Maldivian women, Mariyam Rasheeda and Fousia Hassan, arrested in 1994 on charges of overstaying in the country.
The Supreme Court ordered compensation for Narayanan and constituted the committee that recommended a central agency probe the conspiracy angle.
Mathews insisted Narayanan was not heading ISRO’s cryogenic division when he was arrested and that he had moved an application for voluntary retirement in 1994 after some officials superseded him. He claimed Narayanan came up with a “cryogenic theory” to get more attention and sympathy. Mathews insisted Narayanan was in touch with some foreign nationals.
The district court on Wednesday directed the CBI to produce case diaries of the 1994 case, the ongoing conspiracy probe, and details of the Supreme Court-appointed Jain Commission report.
A retired RAW official, who preferred not to be named, said confidential issues related to the country’s security should not be raised while calling for in-camera proceedings in the case.