The Supreme Court on Friday quashed the Kerala High Court’s order granting anticipatory bail to former officials of the Intelligence Bureau and state police facing charges of conspiracy to frame ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in an espionage case. The arrested scientists were grilled by Intelligence Bureau sleuths, including Gujarat-cadre IPS officer R B Sreekumar, who was then IB additional director in Kerala.
Who is Nambi Narayanan?
Nambi Narayanan, in-charge of the cryogenics division at ISRO, is claimed to have anticipated the need for liquid fueled engines for ISRO’s space programs in future and introduced this technology in India in the 1970s, which later he was accused of selling.
Though he was later proven not guilty by CBI and the Supreme Court in 1998, he had spent 50 days in jail along with fellow scientist D Sasikumar and four others accused in the case.
Since 1994, Narayanan has been fighting legal battles first to clear his name in the case later for compensation and now for taking action against the police officers who filed a false case against him.
What was CBI’s stand about the ISRO spy case on May 2, 1996?
After 20 days the case was transferred to CBI, who submitted their report that Siby Mathew, who was DIG at that time, had “indiscriminately” ordered the arrest of the scientists along with others without thoroughly conducting an interrogation or verifying announcements. The report also blamed the Intelligence Bureau for conducting the inquiry in an unprofessional manner. The IB is accused of not verifying the statements of the accused, which could have saved the reputation of the scientists.
The case did not end here
The CPM-led government after resuming the office in 1996, ordered a reinvestigation of the case. Narayanan and others challenged this in the Kerala High Court, which refused to stay the government order; Narayanan then appealed to the Supreme Court, which reverted the Kerala HC order in 1998. But the Kerala government challenged in the court again in 2006 and in 2012 it upheld Narayana’s contention and ordered an interim relief of Rs. 10 lakh compensation. In 2015, Narayana approached the Supreme Court seeking criminal and disciplinary action against Kerala police officials led by Siby Mathew.
What did the Supreme Court say today?
The SC’s order came on an appeal requested by the CBI challenging the Kerala HC order granting pre-arrest bail to Siby Mathews, who is now the former Kerala Director General of Police along with former Gujarat ADGP R.B.Sreekumar, P.S Jayaprakash, S Vijayan and Thampi Durgadutt. A bench of Justices M R Shah and C T Ravikumar asked the Kerala HC to consider their pleas again and study the matter within 4 weeks from the date of receipt of its order.