A row erupted Saturday after former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan was conferred with the Padma Bhushan award, with former Kerala director general of police (DGP) TP Senkumar questioning the rationale behind the government’s choice.
Stating that the decision to award him is like “mixing poison with nectar”, Senkumar mockingly drew parallels between Narayanan and rape and murder convicts.
“When I was re-investigating the case, I had asked several people in ISRO what’s his (Narayanan) contribution and everyone replied in negative. I had even asked the same question to then ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair. People who sponsored and gave the award should explain what a below average scientist who took voluntary retirement way back in 1994 has contributed to the nation and ISRO,” Senkumar said.
“The Supreme Court has instituted a committee for the case. Let them come out with a finding first. After that, it is fine if he is even awarded a Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian honour in the country),” Senkumar was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
“If this goes on, next year, we might hear about Govindachamy (convicted in Soumya rape case), Amirul Islam (accused in Jisha murder-rape case) and Mariam Rasheeda (another falsely accused in the ISRO spy scandal) getting Padma awards,” he said. Read in Malayalam
Reacting to the award, Narayanan had earlier said he felt vindicated by the central government’s decision. Responding to Senkumar’s charges, Narayanan said the former DGP was talking rubbish. “I had given a compensation suit of Rs 1 crore in which he is an accused and is undergoing- whatever he says is subjudice and I do not mean to make the same mistake as him,” he said.
Narayanan, who was honoured for his contribution in science, was falsely convicted in the ISRO espionage case in 1994. The case 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. Narayanan had to spend close to two months in jail before the CBI concluded the allegations against him were false.
Last year, Narayanan was given Rs 50 lakh by the Kerala government in compliance with a Supreme Court awarding the compensation to him for being falsely implicated in the case. In its September 14th order, the apex court had ordered a probe into the role of Kerala police in the case.
Senkumar is the seventh accused in the complaint filed by Narayanan, where he demanded compensation for the fabricated case.