Thiruvananthapuram: The row over the Padma Bhushan award to Nambi Narayanan took a curious turn with a report that it was a BJP MP who recommended the former ISRO scientist's name for the prestigious honour and not the state government.
The letter of recommendation was written by Rajeev Chandrasekhar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The chief minister's office confirmed to Manorama News that the state government had not recommended Nambi Narayanan's name for Padma Bhushan.
After Nambi Narayanan was picked for Padma Bhushan, former Kerala Police chief TP Senkumar asked, "What is Nambi Narayanan's contribution to the nation?"
"He took voluntary retirement way back in 1995," Senkumar told reporters on Saturday.
Another controversy was triggered after noted writer Gita Mehta, who is also the elder sister of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, declined to accept the Padma Shri award. Mehta said the timing of the award was questionable as the general election was set to take place and the award may cause embarrassment both to the Odisha government and her.
Meanwhile, Nambi Narayanan, who was falsely implicated in an espionage case and had to suffer jail term and ignominy, said that he was extremely happy after hearing the news that he has been awarded the Padma Bhushan.
Speaking briefly to the media at his house here, Narayanan's face beamed with joy.
" It's true that I have been awarded Padma Bhushan. Now I am getting recognition from all sides, first the Supreme Court cleared me, then the Kerala government came up to me and now the Centre has also accepted me," said Narayanan who spent 50 days in jail in the infamous ISRO spy case.
The Supreme Court last year awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation for his travails and directed setting up of a committee to inquire into the role of erring officials who Nambi Narayanan said had implicated him in the ISRO spy case.
The erring' government officials include then IG of Police Siby Mathews, and then deputy superintend of police K K Joshua and S Vijayan.
The ISRO spy case surfaced in 1994 when Nambi Narayanan along with another top official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman was arrested on espionage charges, but the CBI cleared him in 1995 and since then he has been fighting a legal battle against Siby Mathews, the then IG of Police who had probed the case and two other police officers.
Nambi Narayanan had approached the apex court after a Kerala High Court bench, dismissed a single-bench order that directed the state government to take action against three retired police officers, who had implicated and arrested him.
(With IANS inputs)
Read more: Latest Kerala news