ISRO espionage case: HC grants anticipatory bail to accused

The High Court granted bail on the condition that if arrested, the accused should be released only on a bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties for the same amount. Photo: Manorama Online

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to former Intelligence Bureau (IB) and police officers who are accused of falsely implicating scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 ISRO espionage case, with riders.

Justice K Babu allowed bail to former DGP Siby Mathews, former IB deputy director R B Sreekumar, former police officer S Vijayan and Thampi S Durgadutt, former Intelligence officer P S Jayaprakash and former IB officer V K Maini.

The court ordered all accused to appear before the investigating officer on January 27, between 10 am and 11 am.

Bail was granted on the condition that if arrested, the accused should be released only on a bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties for the same amount.

The Supreme Court had earlier set aside the High Court's orders granting anticipatory bail to the accused. The bench headed by Justice M R Shah then remitted the case to the High Court stating it did not observe anything on the merits of the case.

The 1994 case

The case, which had hit the headlines in 1994, pertained to allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India's space programme to foreign countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

Narayanan, who was given a clean chit by the CBI, had earlier alleged the Kerala police had "fabricated" the case and the technology he was accused to have stolen and sold in the 1994 case did not even exist at that time.

The CBI had said the then-top police officials in Kerala were responsible for Narayanan's illegal arrest.

The apex court had on September 14, 2018, appointed a three-member committee while directing the Kerala government to cough up a Rs 50 lakh compensation for compelling Narayanan to undergo "immense humiliation".

Terming the police action against the ex-scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) "psycho-pathological treatment", the apex court had in September 2018 said his "liberty and dignity", basic to his human rights, were jeopardised as he was taken into custody and, eventually, despite all the glory of the past, was compelled to face "cynical abhorrence".

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