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CBI gets yet another adjournment in SC in ISRO frame-up case

Supreme Court of India.

Supreme Court of India.

The CBI on Friday, January 28, 2022, got its appeal in the Supreme Court against the anticipatory bail granted to former intelligence and police officials accused in the ISRO frame-up case adjourned for the second time in January.

Also read: Nambi Narayanan | The battles of a space dreamer

On January 3, it asked the court to postpone the case to January 28, saying it needed time to file a rejoinder.

On Friday, when asked by a Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, it said its officers were down with COVID-19.

The case is now posted to February 25.

The court issued notice to the bailed out accused persons on November 22 last.

The CBI had argued that there may be a "larger conspiracy involving foreign powers" in the case, which stalled the technology to develop the cryogenic engine by decades.

The CBI has challenged the bail granted at the "threshold" of the investigation.

"The frame-up led to the arrest of scientists. The technology for the cryogenic engine was deliberately stalled for at least two decades... May be a larger conspiracy involving foreign powers... Grant of anticipatory bail at the threshold may harm the investigation," Additional Solicitor-General S.V. Raju, for the CBI, had submitted.

HC grants anticipatory bail

The Kerala High Court had granted anticipatory bail to P.S. Jayaprakash, Thampi S. Durga Dutt, Vijayan and R.B Sreekumar. It had held that the accused “should not be made to face a similar situation of being forced to undergo the ignominy of being incarcerated in the prison for interrogation at this old age after their retirement for an incident that took place a quarter of the century ago.” It noted that there was no “indication or material, apart from the rhetoric that a foreign power has a hand in persuading the petitioners,” to implicate the ISRO scientists in the case.

It had said that there was “not even a scintilla of evidence regarding the petitioners being influenced by any foreign power so as to induce them to hatch a conspiracy to falsely implicate the scientists” with the intention to stall the activities of the ISRO regarding the development of cryogenic engine. Unless there are specific materials regarding their involvement, prima facie, it cannot be said that the officials were acting against the interest of the country, it had noted.

The CBI had arraigned 18 people, including the petitioners, as accused in the case after the Supreme Court-appointed Justice D.K. Jain Committee found fault with them for booking cases against the scientists.

The committee also found that some of the accused were involved in the deliberate leakage of information to the media and press to create a narrative implicating the scientists and to arrest them without any material on record to show their involvement in the alleged espionage. These incidents and the consequent torture of the Nambi Narayanan and K. Chandrasekharan in police custody required a detailed investigation, it had indicated.


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Printable version | May 26, 2022 6:39:39 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-gets-yet-another-adjournment-in-sc-in-isro-frame-up-case/article38338424.ece