Told CBI the truth:ex-ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 1 (PTI) Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan said on Thursday that he only told the truth and 'nothing but the truth' to the CBI team which recorded his statement in connection with their probe into the conspiracy angle behind the 1994 espionage case.

'I only told the truth and nothing but the truth,' Narayanan told PTI, but refused to say anything more on what he told the agency.

He said the CBI recorded his statement on June 30, but not on July 1 and that he cannot say whether the agency will be recording his statement tomorrow or any date after that.

'They took my statement yesterday. Today (July 1) they did not come to me.No idea if they will record my statement tomorrow,' he said.

The Supreme Court had on April 15 ordered that the report of a high-level committee on the role of erring police officials in the 1994 espionage case relating to Narayanan be given to the CBI and directed the agency to conduct further investigation on the issue.

The three-member committee, headed by former apex court judge Justice (retd) D K Jain, was appointed by the top court in 2018 after acquitting Narayanan in the case.

The top court had also directed the Kerala government to cough up Rs 50 lakh as compensation for compelling Narayanan to undergo 'immense humiliation'.

It had ordered setting up of the committee to take appropriate steps against the erring officials for causing 'tremendous harassment' and 'immeasurable anguish' to Narayanan and had directed the Centre and state government to nominate one officer each in the panel.

The apex court, in its April 15 order, had said that the CBI may treat the panel's findings as part of preliminary investigation and asked the agency to submit its report to the court within three months.

The probe agency has reportedly invoked around 10 sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to various crimes, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and fabrication of evidence.

Former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews, who was then heading the SIT probe team, was on June 25 granted interim bail in the conspiracy case being probed by CBI.

Mathews moved the district court after reports that the CBI had listed him among the 18 accused in the FIR filed before a Chief judicial Magistrate court here.

Terming the police action against the ex-scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as a 'psycho-pathological treatment', the apex court had in September 2018 said that his 'liberty and dignity', basic to his human rights, were jeopardised as he was taken into custody and, eventually, despite all the glory of the past, was compelled to face 'cynical abhorrence'.

The espionage case, which had hit the headlines in 1994, pertained to allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India's space programme to foreign countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

The scientist was arrested when the Congress was heading the government in Kerala.

The CBI, in its probe, had held that the then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for Narayanan's illegal arrest.

The case also had a political fallout, with a section in Congress targeting the then Chief Minister late K Karunakaran over the issue, that eventually led to his resignation.

The 79-year-old former scientist, who was given a clean chit by the CBI, had earlier said that the Kerala police had 'fabricated' the case and the technology he was charged with having stolen and sold in the 1994 case did not even exist at that time.

Narayanan had approached the apex court against a Kerala High Court judgement that said no action needed to be taken against Mathews and two retired Superintendents of Police K K Joshua and S Vijayan, who were later held responsible by the CBI for the scientist's illegal arrest.

The CBI, while giving a clean chit to the scientist, had said Mathews had left 'the entire investigation to IB surrendering his duties' and ordered indiscriminate arrest of the scientist and others without adequate evidence being on record.

The case had drawn attention in October 1994 when Maldivian national Rasheeda was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram for allegedly obtaining secret drawings of ISRO rocket engines to sell to Pakistan.

Narayanan, the then director of the cryogenic project at ISRO, was arrested along with the then ISRO Deputy Director D Sasikumaran and Fousiya Hasan, a Maldivian friend of Rasheeda. PTI HMP BN BALA BN BALA

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