1994 ISRO espionage case | Kerala HC grants anticipatory bail to former Gujarat DGP and Kerala DGP

The others who got the anticipatory bail are former Kerala police officers S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt and former IB officers P.S. Jayaprakash and V.K. Maini.

January 20, 2023 03:04 pm | Updated 06:04 pm IST - KOCHI

A view of the Kerala High Court.

A view of the Kerala High Court.

The Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to R.B. Sreekumar and Siby Mathew, former Director Generals of Police respectively of Gujarat and Kerala, and four other accused in a case registered in connection with the alleged conspiracy to frame former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 espionage case.

The others who got the anticipatory bail are former Kerala police officers S. Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt and former IB officers P.S. Jayaprakash and V.K. Maini.

Also read |A timeline of 1994 espionage case involving ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan

Bail conditions

Justice K. Babu while allowing the bail pleas of the accused also directed them to appear before the investigation officer on January 27 between 10 and 12 p.m. for interrogation. They should be released on bail on their executing a bond for Rs. 1 lakh each with two solvent sureties for the amount.

They were also directed to continue to appear before the investigation officers for interrogation on Mondays and Fridays for a further period of two weeks. The other conditions for bail are; they should not leave the country without the permission of the court and that they should not influence the witnesses. They should also cooperate with the investigation of the case.

The Supreme Court on December 2 quashed the anticipatory bail granted earlier by the High Court to the accused and directed the High Court to finally dispose of their anticipatory bail petitions on merit.

CBI’s arguments

CBI Counsel argued that the espionage case involving former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan and others was part of a conspiracy hatched, possibly with involvement of a foreign hand, to derail the development of the cryogenic engine technology by India.

R.B Sreekumar, then Deputy Director of the IB, Thiruvananthapuram had played an active role in the wrongful detention of the victims. He submitted that the IB had no authority to interrogate Nambi Narayanan when he was in police custody. Therefore, the interrogation was unauthorised.

Foreign power allegation

Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan

Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan | Photo Credit: SREEKESH RAVEENDRAN NAIR

Counsel for Nambi Narayanan also submitted that the investigation officers of Kerala police and IB had conspired with some foreign power to torpedo the development of cryogenic technology by India. If the conspiracy was to be proved and to find out who was behind the fabrication of a false case and who benefitted out of this, custodial interrogation of the accused was vital

The CBI contended that foreign powers were involved in the conspiracy to fabricate a case against eminent scientists of ISRO. The cryogenic engine technology was denied to India because of the atomic bomb blast that took place in Pokhran. Russia, therefore, did not transfer the technology because of the sanctions. If the technology were handed over to us, we would have been faster in cryogenic engine development. It was to derail the project that the false case was registered against the ISRO scientists.

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