Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hit out at Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala for implicating ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in a false espionage case while his government had honoured him with a Padma award on this Republic Day. “More than two decades ago, a hardworking and patriotic ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan was implicated in a false case, just because a few UDF leaders were settling political scores. Imagine, for their own politics, they damaged national interest, troubled a scientist,” Modi said while addressing a rally in Kerala’s Thrissur.“It is an honour that our Government had the opportunity of conferring a Padma Award on Nambi Narayanan. We value each and every person who is working to make India stronger,” he added. Attacking the Congress further over the espionage charges against the scientist, which were scrapped by the Supreme Court, and corruption cases in Kerala, especially the solar scam under then chief minister Oommen Chandy, he said,“For them science can be abused as spying, for us science is a matter of national pride.For them solar was a means for a scam, for us solar is a means for a global alliance.” Narayanan had expressed happiness over the Modi government’s decision to confer him the Padma Bhushan, describing it as “an acknowledgement of my innocence”.Narayanan had run into a huge controversy during 1990s when he was arrested on spying charges. He was heading the cryogenic division of the ISRO when he and another scientist D Sasimukar were arrested in the alleged espionage case in 1994. They were held with two Maldivian women on charges of selling space secrets of the country to foreigners.Following a protracted legal battle, the Supreme Court quashed the case against Narayanan, who was cleared of all the charges. In 2018, the Supreme Court directed the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to him. The court also ordered an inquiry against police officers who probed the case.