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Senior cop hit me with chair, says woman in Isro spy case Ex-Guj DGP Trashes Rasheeda’s Claim, Calls It Political Plot

September 24, 2018 06:09 AM

COURTESY TOI SEP 24

Senior cop hit me with chair, says woman in Isro spy case
Ex-Guj DGP Trashes Rasheeda’s Claim, Calls It Political Plot
Arun.Ram@timesgroup.com

Chennai:

Mariam Rasheeda, the Maldivian woman whose arrest triggered the infamous Isro spy case, has named former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar, then a joint director of the Intelligence Bureau, as one of the officers who physically tortured her in custody in 1994. The Supreme Court had, on September 14, ordered a committee headed by a retired judge to look at “appropriate steps against erring officials” who handled the case.


“The interrogators showed me photographs of two men and asked me if I knew them. When I said ‘no’, they asked me to identify them as Isro scientist Nambi Narayanan and inspector general Raman Srivastava. When I refused to identify these men who I didn’t know, one officer lifted a chair and hit me on my left leg. Twenty-four years later, a few days ago, I saw the same officer on television, participating in a 2013 debate on the Isro spy case and I identified him as Sreekumar,” Mariam told TOI over phone from an undisclosed location.

Sreekumar said he did interrogate Mariam, but did not use any third-degree measure. He said BJP was behind the allegation as the party has scores to settle with him for acting against Narendra Modi, then Gujarat chief minister, in the 2002 Gujarat riots. “Totally false,” Sreekumar said about Mariam’s charge. “If I tortured her, why didn’t she tell the court that?”

Mariam said the courts did not ask her any question. She was merely produced in various courts and she didn’t understand what was happening. “I was always surrounded by policemen. Even when I had a lawyer I couldn’t talk to him. Also, I didn’t know the identity of the officers who tortured me. Now I know, after watching the re-telecast of that recorded programme, that the officer who hit me with a chair is Sreekumar.”

Sreekumar said he was only one of the several officers who interrogated Mariam. “I was with officer C M Ravindran (who later became the Sikkim DGP) and I have no reason to hide anything … The BJP leadership is targeting me for bringing out the complicity of Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots,” he said, adding that he will provide all details of the interrogation to the SC-appointed committee if he is asked to.

Mariam said she was in touch with Fauziyya Hassan, another Maldivian woman who was a co-accused in the spy case, and that the two will move SC and international forums of human rights, naming Sreekumar and then Kerala police officers Siby Mathews, S Vijayan and Thambi Durgadutt.

“For close to a month I was tortured in custody; I spent four years in jail,” she said. “I will not let these officers go without being punished. Nobody else should suffer like me.”

Mariam was among the six accused, including Isro scientists S Nambi Narayanan and D Sasikumaran, charged with passing on Indian rocket secrets to Pakistan. Following an investigation and a closure report by the CBI, the SC in 1998 found the case to be false and exonerated all the accused in the case.

On September 14, 2018, the apex court ordered a compensation of Rs50 lakh to Nambi Narayanan

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