Isro spy case reopens old political sub-plot

The Supreme Court on September 14 held that Nambi Narayanan was “arrested unnecessarily, harassed and subjected to mental cruelty” in a 1994 espionage case and ordered a probe into the role of Kerala police officers. PTI

The ‘who’ and ‘why’ of the Isro spy case are still partly left unanswered but every time the case hits headlines, it also reopens an old political sub-plot with an allegedly established motive.

The A K Antony faction in the Congress party is widely believed to have used the spy case to steer a concerted move to bring down the then chief minister, late K Karunakaran.

The Supreme Court in its September 14 judgment has constituted a committee to pursue action against officials who probed the false case. As the old charges resurface, alleged players in the political plot including former chief minister Oommen Chandy have refused to comment.

The charges appear to have split opinion in Karunakaran’s family as well. Padmaja Venugopal, the late leader’s daughter, stirred a row after the SC judgment by claiming her father knew that “five leaders” had conspired against him, eventually leading to his resignation in 1995.

On Sunday, K Muraleedharan, MLA and Karunakaran’s son, said he was not aware of a conspiracy at the state level. He, however, said then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao “ditched” his father when calls for his resignation started getting louder. Muraleedharan’s claims have, earlier, been subscribed by those who believe Karunakaran’s clout in the party’s power centres had also hastened his exit.

As the Supreme Court-appointed committee headed by Justice D K Jain prepares to take “appropriate steps” against erring officials, it remains to be seen if the angle of political conspiracy falls within its scope.

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Isro spy case reopens old political sub-plot

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