The 1994 espionage case of ISRO that ruined the prominence of scientist S. Nambi Narayanan finally seems to be heading towards justice. The Supreme Court is tomorrow scheduled to hear Union of India’s IA filed in the case against Narayanan that was later found to be false. Since this case led to immense humiliation and harassment of Narayanan publicly, if details of the report will be made public or not by the apex court would be an important aspect.

Another important question is if an act to protect Indian scientists will be implemented after such a case or probably a conspiracy against Indian scientists that not just led to Narayanan’s plight but also slowed down the progress of ISRO. Narayanan headed the Cryogenics department of ISRO and his work in liquid propulsion was instrumental for the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV: the rocket that carries most of the projects made by ISRO into space. 

The case against Narayanan was handed over to CBI in 1996 and in its report, the CBI concluded that his arrest was illegal, and, the Supreme Court dismissed all charges against him. He was also conferred the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India. The CBI report and the award cannot compensate for the immeasurable anguish that Narayanan went through unless what exactly led to his arrest is uncovered.

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Supreme Court’s judgement on tomorrow’s hearing is also likely to send ripples to Kerala’s politics as the case is linked to the resignation of Kerala’s then Chief Minister,  late K Karunakara as a section of his own party, Congress, levelled allegation on him over the issue. Many of those Congress leaders still hold robust positions in the politics of Kerala.

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