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Supreme Court cancels anticipatory bail granted to accused ex-cops in Nambi Narayanan fake espionage case, directs Kerala HC to re-hear bail pleas

Kerala HC had granted anticipatory bail to the five accused in the case namely - Former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews, former Gujarat ADGP RB Sreekumar and former Deputy Central Intelligence Officer, PS Jayaprakash - who were IB officials in 1994 - and two former Kerala Police officers S. Vijayan and Thampi S. Durga.

On Friday, December 2, Supreme Court cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to five ex-officials accused in the 1994 ISRO espionage case pertaining to the falsification of evidence to frame scientist Nambi Narayanan. 

A bench led by Justice M.R. Shah directed the Kerala High Court to re-hear the anticipatory bail pleas and ruled that, “all the appeals are allowed, and the impugned judgments are hereby quashed and set aside.”

The top court asked Kerala HC to decide on the matter within a period of four weeks. As an interim arrangement, the Supreme Court also granted protection from arrest to the accused for five weeks till the Kerala HC issues its order.

Notably, Kerala HC had granted anticipatory bail to the five accused in the case namely – Former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews, former Gujarat ADGP RB Sreekumar and former Deputy Central Intelligence Officer, PS Jayaprakash – who were IB officials in 1994 – and two former Kerala Police officers S. Vijayan and Thampi S. Durga.

The bench said that the Kerala High Court failed to take several aspects into consideration while passing the order. “The High Court has committed certain wrongs. It has not dealt with Justice Jain committee report, individual allegations not examined. High Court should deal with individual cases individually”, the court said.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had sought cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to the accused persons saying that this might derail the investigation. 

Previously, the CBI informed the Supreme Court that some scientists were tortured and framed in the case, causing a delay in the development of cryogenic engines, causing India’s space programme to be delayed by nearly a decade.

It is pertinent to note that the CBI in its 1996 investigation report concluded that the cases against Nambi Narayanan and others were fabricated. The CBI in its report had observed that “The aforesaid IB officials comprising the team enquiring into ISRO case acted in an unprofessional manner and were privy to the arrest of six innocent persons, thereby causing them immense mental and physical agony.” The CBI had also clearly indicted Srikumar for “failing in their duty to conduct the inquiry in an objective and fair manner.”

The Supreme Court ordered a high-level investigation into the role of erring police officials in the Nambi Narayanan espionage case in 2018. On September 14, 2018, the Supreme Court appointed a three-member committee and ordered the Kerala government to pay Nambi Narayanan Rs 50 lakh in compensation for subjecting him to extreme humiliation.

The Supreme Court described the police action against Narayanan as a “psycho-pathological treatment,” and stated that Nambi Narayanan’s liberty and dignity, which are fundamental to his human rights, were jeopardised because he was forced to face “cynical abhorrence” despite his past achievements.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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