ISRO spy scandal case: Our hands are clean, CBI tells Supreme Court

Nambi Narayanan backs agency in wrongful confinement case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday said it has “nothing to hide” in the ISRO spy scandal case, which saw the wrongful confinement of former senior scientist Nambi Narayanan.

The CBI, which took over the probe from the State Police and filed a closure report in 1996, said the Supreme Court could even launch a court-monitored probe into the agency’s conduct in the case.

“We are not running away from anything. Our hands are clean,” Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Bannerjee, for the CBI, submitted before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Mr. Narayanan also voiced support for the agency. His lawyer submitted orally before the Bench that “it is only because of the fair probe done by the CBI that the petitioner is before us. The Kerala police and the IB were torturing and extracting statements from him”.

Plea against officials

With this, the Bench reserved for judgment a plea made by Mr. Narayanan to prosecute senior police officials who investigated the ISRO spy scandal. The court will also consider the question of compensation to be paid to the scientist and others .

The CBI objected to the court’s observation that the agency should also pay a compensation. “Why should compensation be paid by us… petitioner himself is saying there is no allegation against us,” Mr. Bannerjee submitted.

Earlier, the State of Kerala had filed an affidavit saying it was willing to unconditionally abide by whatever the apex court orders.

The court said it would adopt an impartial stand in the issue.

In his petition, Mr. Narayanan, who was discharged in the case, had arraigned as parties former Kerala ADGP Siby Mathews, the State government officers K.K. Joshwa and S. Vijayan, both of whom had retired in senior positions in the police.

The former ISRO scientist, who is in his seventies, had approached the apex court after a Division Bench of the State High Court refused his plea.

Challenging the legality of the order of the High Court Division Bench, Mr. Narayanan said that the order was “bad in law”.

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