CHENNAI: Two days after the Supreme Court ordered compensation of Rs 50 lakh to scientist Nambi Narayanan in the fake ‘Isro spy case’ and asked a judicial committee to probe the role of “erring officers”, Mariam Rasheeda, the Maldivian whose arrest triggered the case in 1994, told TOI over phone from an undisclosed location she would sue the cops and seek compensation.

“I was tortured in custody to name Nambi Narayanan. I’ve lost my reputation. I will not leave them,” Mariam said in her first interview since 1998 when the SC exonerated her and six others accused of passing on India’s rocket secrets to Pakistan. On Friday’s SC order, Rasheeda said the compensation was too little for the loss of career and reputation Narayanan suffered.

The CBI had recommended to the Centre and Kerala government that action be taken against officers who tortured the accused.

Rasheeda spent some three-and-a-half years in jail in Kerala, from 1994 to 1998, till the SC exonerated all the accused. CBI’s closure report came in 1996, but she remained in jail because the Kerala government went to the SC seeking a further probe and she chose to stay in prison due to safety concerns.

‘Kerala cops, IB men tortured me in custody’

Naming then special investigation team head Siby Mathews (who later became DGP and Kerala chief information commissioner) and then special branch inspector S Vijayan as those who implicated her, Mariam Rasheeda said her lawyers would soon move the appropriate court, but she wouldn’t come to India, which continues to give her the shivers. Asked if she would depose before the Justice Jain committee appointed by the SC, Rasheeda said she would consider that option after taking legal opinion.

When asked why she kept silent so far, Rasheeda said initially she was in shock and scared. Later, she was made to believe that there was a window period within which she had to file the case. “I thought the period was over. Now, with the SC verdict, I realised that I can still sue them,” she said.

The Maldivian, who had come to India for health care and education for her friend and co-accused Fauziyya Hassan’s daughter, said inspector Vijayan tortured her. “When I went to meet him to say I may not be able to travel back to Male because of a plague scare, Vijayan held back my passport for 18 days and arrested me for overstay. In custody, he beat me up brutally. He thought that he would get a promotion by making up the spy case. There were others from IB, too, who tortured me, but I don’t know their names,” she said.