SC Directions to CBI in ISRO Espionage Case, 1994

Synopsis – The Supreme Court has ordered the CBI investigation in the Nambi Narayanan ISRO Espionage case. CBI will review the involvement of the Kerala police.

What is the ISRO espionage case?
  • In 1994, a Maldivian woman was arrested. She was suspected of selling secrets from ISRO scientists to Pakistan.
  • Mr. Narayanan was arrested along with two other scientists by the Kerala Police on charges of sharing official secrets on space technology and launch missions.
  • Later, the CBI took over the probe from the Kerala police. In 1996, CBI recommended closure of the case due to lack of evidence.
  • The CBI also highlighted serious flaws in the police investigation, which relied on dubious tactics and was based solely on suspicion.
What is the court order [2018]?
  • Firstly, in 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed the case as a criminal frame-up based on “some sort of fancy or notion.”
  • Secondly, according to the Court, the former ISRO scientist was “unnecessarily arrested and harassed”.
  • Thus, the court ordered the State of Kerala to pay him Rs.50 lakh as compensation for the damage to his honor and dignity.
  • Lastly, the court also formed a committee headed by Justice D.K. Jain to find ways and means to take appropriate steps against the erring officials
Recent court order-
  • The SC ordered CBI to investigate the alleged espionage case against a former ISRO scientist in 1994 and to submit a report within three months.
  • Furthermore, the CBI will investigate the report of Justice D.K. Jain Committee on senior Kerala police officials accused of framing ISRO scientist.
Concerning facts about the case-
  • The ‘ISRO spying case’ has raised significant concerns about police investigations in the country.
  • Also, Kerala’s government has been ignoring calls for disciplinary action against the erring police officers.
  • Moreover, the State government opposed the CBI’s closure report and made an attempt to revive the investigation by its own police.


  • SC order is a welcome and necessary step toward ensuring transparency for the alleged frame-up.
  • Also, it would be in the best interests of the case if the CBI could continue with its inquiry into the officers involved without hindrance

OneSourceThe Hindu

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