Bengaluru Man, Cleared In ISRO ‘Spy’ Case, Dies Waiting For Compensation

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SK Sharma had cancer and underwent several chemotherapy and radiation sessions.

Bengaluru:

SK Sharma, the man who was falsely accused of spying in the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO 'spy' case, has died. Mr Sharma was suffering from cancer. He was hoping to be compensated for the allegations after former ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan, was cleared of espionage charges and awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation for "unnecessary harassment" by the Kerala Police.

Labour contractor from Bengaluru, Mr Sharma, too, was cleared of all charges, but only after a nightmarish time in custody. He was socially ostracised when he returned. He had been trying for compensation for the last 20 years and had told NDTV in September that Mr Narayanan's case gave him hope.

He had explained to NDTV how he had been physically tortured in custody and how his reputation had been ruined. He was released after 50 days on bail.

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'They hit me. Slapped and kicked. Then with cane. After half an hour, this person would vanish. Another person would come. They said, 'you passed ISRO and defence information to Pakistan'. I cried and cried but they were unrelenting. They didn't let me sit on the ground for three days," he had said.

His reputation was damaged. And it hurt not just him but his family too.

He had told NDTV, "My daughters were thrown out from the school. My daughters were humiliated. They were told, 'You people are agents, deshdrohis (anti-nationals). The teachers also said hurtful things."

His social life was affected as well. "People who were so close to me started avoiding me. The moment I entered the club, they would leave. They were scared of me. After a couple of days I thought 'let me not spoil their evenings and I stopped going there."

The family lived through that trauma together. Mr Sharma recalls the visit of his youngest daughter, Monisha, to the jail. "She was two-year-old. My wife brought her to the jail and requested the jailer to allow me to give her a chocolate. She also asked him if it was possible that I met my daughter in plain clothes and not in jail uniform. So for a few minutes, I was given my trouser and shirt. The moment I gave her chocolate we all started crying," he had said.

Monisha told NDTV, "I don't remember it, but it sounds like a dystopian novel. I have been to Nambi uncle's house and only recently I realised that they met in jail. He didn't even know this person. My father is stoic but when he talks about all this, he cries."

His wife, Kiran, said, "We are from defence families. So it hurt us more."

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