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Kerala HC quashes time limit on anticipatory bail of ex-cop Siby Mathews who framed scientist Nambi Narayanan in fake espionage case

CBI responded by opposing the plea filed by Siby Mathews, claiming that the petitioner should have sought such relief from the trial court.

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday overturned a lower court’s 60-day time limit on anticipatory bail granted to former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews, who is being investigated by the CBI for allegedly framing erstwhile ISRO scientist and Padma Bhushan awardee Dr Nambi Narayanan in a fake espionage case in 1994. Siby Mathews is the fourth accused in the ISRO espionage case.

Siby Mathews argued that the time limit placed on his pre-arrest bail should be overturned because it was in contravention of the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench decision. The Supreme Court ruled that a bail order should not be confined to a specific time period and that an order of anticipatory bail can last until the end of the trial.

Justice K Haripal granted the former officer’s application, reversing the Sessions Court’s decision.

It may be noted that since the CBI requested more time to file its submissions, the Court had already extended the time limit several times, which was supposed to expire on October 24th.

CBI responded by opposing the plea filed by Siby Mathews, claiming that the petitioner should have sought such relief from the trial court.

However, the former Kerala DGP, represented by senior advocate P Vijaya Bhanu and advocates Ajeesh K Sasi and PM Rafiq argued in court that the trial court erred in imposing a validity time on the relief it had granted to Siby Mathews.

Mathews along with 17 other former Kerala police and IB officials are facing a CBI probe for allegedly falsely implicating Narayanan and some others in the 1994 spying case.

The criminal prosecution against Mathews was filed in response to the DK Jain Committee’s recommendations that the Central Investigating Agency conduct an extensive and in-depth probe into the conspiracy behind the 1994 fake espionage case.

On July 26, 2021, Supreme Court had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) to proceed against the accused as per law. 

The court, however, added that the CBI must gather evidence and not solely rely on the findings of the reports by the Justice Jain Committee, the three-member panel set up after it acquitted Dr Narayanan in 2018. 

Nambi Narayanan – the victim of persecution by the Congress party

It is pertinent to note that scientist Nambi Narayan was a victim of persecution by the Congress party. The political rivalry between the two factions of the Kerala Congress party led to the arrest of Narayanan, along with two other scientists D Sasikumaran and K Chandrasekhar, in November 1994. The Kerala police had levelled espionage charges under sections 3,4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act against the scientists.

In 2018, the Supreme Court had ordered a high-level probe to investigate the role of erring police officials in the espionage case relating to Nambi Narayanan. In April this year, the court had directed the CBI to take over the probe and conduct further investigation in the case. 

The CBI, in its probe, found that the allegations against him were false. While absolving Narayanan of any wrongdoing, the CBI had said that Siby Mathews had left “the entire investigation to IB surrendering his duties” and ordered the indiscriminate arrest of the scientist and others without adequate evidence”.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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