ISRO case getting murkier: Ex-cops allege Nambi Narayanan transferred acres of land to CBI officers


Rajan Cherukkad

The mystery into the ISRO espionage case is turning deeper with some new developments. The documents showing transfer of several acres of land by former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan to several people including the CBI officers who investigated the case have now come out. Nambi Narayanan, who received Rs 1.91 crore from the public treasury for being falsely implicated in the case, is alleged to have transferred land in his name and also in the name of his son Sankara Kumar to investigating officers, including CBI DIG Rajendra Nath Kaul. While CBI was investigating the espionage case in 1995, Rajendra Nath Kaul was the chief of Chennai headquarters in the south region.

The land deals took place in 2004 and in 2008. The documents showing the land transfer by the acquitted person in the spy case to the investigating officers have been produced in the court while the CBI investigation to find out the genuineness of the case and the ones who worked behind it is is going on. These documents pinpointing exchange of land by Nambi Narayanan at Nanguneri located in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu were submitted in court by the then head of the special investigation team, former DGP Sibi Mathews, former SPs S Vijayan and Thampi S Durgadutt. The petitioners complain that even after submitting the documents to the CBI officers, they did not show any seriousness. Sibi Mathews moved the district court while S Vijayan and Thampi S Durgadutt approached the Kerala High Court and submitted the documents along with bail pleas. S Vijayan has also filed a petition in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Thiruvananthapuram stating that the land deals of Nambi Narayanan must be investigated.

The petitioners allege that Nambi Narayanan transferred land to the senior officers of CBI and several central government officers to bury the ISRO spy case and escape the handcuffs. When this reporter contacted Nambi Narayanan to seek his response on the matter, he declined to comment saying the matter was sub judice.

S Vijayan submitted 23 documents in the High Court including the transfer of land to establish that the espionage case was being sabotaged. The land deals were carried out using the general power of attorney registered in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, which was in the name of Sankara Kumar, son of Nambi Narayanan. It is also stated that the people who received land, including Anjali Srivastava, were present there. The power of attorney was registered there while the senior police officer, who is alleged to have benefited from the land deal, was working in the Security and Vigilance department of ONGC in Dehradun.

Sibi mathews has stated that the power of attorney was registered as 412/2004 on July 1, 2004. This information is there in the pages from 631 to 636 of book number four in the sub-registrar office. According to the 1868/2004 title deed registered in the Nanguneri Sub registrar office, 5.25 acres of land was bought in Anjali Srivastava’s name on July 23, 2004. Anjali is the wife of the former DGP Raman Srivastava, an accused in the espionage case, who was suspended due to criticism by the court. According to the 196/2008 document, Nambi Narayanan has sold Anjali Srivastava’s land using the power of attorney. In December 1994, when the espionage case was handed over to CBI for investigation, 22.9 acres of land was transferred to the investigating officer DySP Harivatsan’s brother-in-law and elder sister.

According to the 198/2008 title deed registered on January 18, 2008, the land of Shyamala Devi, sister of Harivalsan is included in the 9.27 acres of land sold in Nanguneri by a man named Brahmanayakam. Brahmanayakam is Nambi Narayanan’s nephew. S Vijayan has submitted a detailed report of the land dealings associated with Nambi Narayanan and his son, Sankara Kumar in Kerala High Court. S Vijayan states that using the power of attorney, Sankara Kumar bought land in 2004 and Nambi Naryananan sold it in 2008.

The petition also alleges that DySP Harivalsan is the one who charged the case against Nambi Narayanan and Sasikumar for accumulation of money through illegal activities based on The Prevention of Corruption Act when the espionage case was transferred to CBI in 1994.

The petition points out the need to investigate the transfer of 10.54 acres to a political leader in West Bengal, an acre to the relative of a senior officer in the Central Pension Department, 15.09 acres to the relative of an officer in the Department of Public Administration, and 18.88 acres to a person who is aleged to be the benami of former CBI DIG, P. M. Nair. The land as per the 1874/2004 title deed was given in the name of Sasidharan Nair, ONGC Chief Manager and a resident of Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. In the documents submitted before the High Court, it is stated that he is the benami of P. M. Nair. He has also submitted the request given by Nambi Narayanan to voluntarily retire from ISRO on October 20, 1994, the tenth day after the arrest of Mariyam Rasheeda. Although the ISRO rule states that the request must be presented before a period of at least three months, Nambi Narayanan has mentioned in his request that he must be granted VRS within 10 days. Sibi Mathews has mentioned in the affidavit submitted to the National Human Rights Commission of India that his attempt to acquire VRS so hurriedly could have been part of his plan to leave the country.

According to Sibi Mathews the phone bought under the name of a business tycoon and contractor Kurian Kalathil was used in Nambi Narayanan’s house, Sangeeth, in Perunthanni, Thiruvananthapuram. The number was 451900. The phone bill for two months starting from October 1, 1994, was Rs 44,498. The bill has also been submitted in the court. The phone given by ISRO was also found at his place. There is evidence to show that he has made phone calls to places like Chicago, Salt Lake City, Russia, Toronto, Australia, Kazakhstan and Dubai using the phone given by Kurian Kalathil. Sibi Mathews has also informed the court that he has submitted documents showing that Nambi Narayanan and Sasikumar were under the observation of IB from 1982.

CBI has kick started the investigation into the spy case again following the Supreme Court order based on the Jain Commission report stating conspiracy against Nambi Narayanan in the espionage case.

The documents relating to the land transfers

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Copy of Nambi Narayanan's request for VRS

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