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Nambi Narayanan case: who trapped this scientist?
Though it has turned out that the entire case was fabricated, but questions, 'who hatched the conspiracy and why?' are still being raised and irony is that even the CBI and the apex court haven't deemed it necessary to make the facts public.

IT WAS in 1966. Vikram Sarabhai visited the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) at Thumpa in Thiruvananthapuram. He was accompanied by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Then he noticed a young scientist who was busy at his work. “What are you doing,” Vikram asked the man. He retorted with another question, “Who are you?”

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This first encounter developed a warm relationship between them. Later Vikram Sarabhai became a mentor to the young man and sent him to the US for higher studies at the expense of ISRO.

The man returned from the US and played key role in developing Liquid Propulsion System for ISRO. He is Nambi Narayanan. Even the science buffs in the country may not have known him at that time.

In 1994, suddenly he became talk of the town, obviously not for good reasons. He became a prime accused in the ISRO espionage case. Deshabhimani, a Malayalam daily under the ownership of CPI(M) published an exclusive news story on this. They reported that a few scientists in ISRO including Narayanan and few others leaked the cryogenic technology to Pakistan via two Maldivian women.

Vernacular dailies in Kerala celebrated the story. Malayala Manorama, largest circulating daily in Kerala, sent a reporter to Maldives to dig out the past of the women arrested in the case. They published spicy stories on a daily basis. Other newspapers also followed the suit. At last the disciple of Vikram Sarabhai, Narayanan, got the name spy!

Later Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found that the entire case was fabricated and they submitted a special report highlighting the professional inability showed by Kerala Police in this case. Supreme Court strongly criticized the Government of Kerala and restricted it from re investigating the case. The apex court ordered the government to give one lakh rupees as compensation to all.

But Narayanan didn’t stop there. He filed a petition against Government of Kerala in National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). In this petition he demanded a compensation of Rs. 1 crore. NHRC asked the state government to pay 10 lakh rupees as an interim compensation. State government challenged the order in the High Court of Kerala. The single bench quashed the NHRC order in 2006. But it was not enough to stop Nambi Narayanan from his journey for justice. Now the division bench of Kerala High Court overruled the single bench verdict and asked the state government to pay the interim compensation to Narayanan within three months.

Narayanan says that the ISRO espionage case was framed to demoralize ISRO and delay its projects. So he sees international conspiracy behind the case. “When I was dragged to the case I had been working on Cryogenic technology. It is 18 years passed since then. Now also we have no Cryogenic technology. It is a clear example for the involvement of foreign hands in this case,” Nambi clarified.

Now also some questions remain unanswered. Who hatched the conspiracy against ISRO and some scientists? What was their aim? People of the country have the right to know this. The State and Central governments have the responsibility to bring real culprits into light.

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