The Kerala High Court Monday nullified the Congress government’s decision not to take action against three police officials for alleged lapses in the infamous ISRO spy case of 1994.
The court directive came in wake of former ISRO scientist Namby Narayanan, who had been framed in the case, moving the HC against the Oommen Chandy government’s decision in 2012. In its closure report, the CBI had asked the state government to take appropriate action against three officials — IPS Siby Mathew, K K Joshwan and S Vijayan.
The court said the government should review the decision, which, according to the court, was a challenge to the judicial system. The state government was told to inform the court of its decision within three months.
In 1996, the CBI submitted its closure report in the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Kochi, concluding that the allegations of espionage were unproved and false. The court agreed and all six accused were discharged. The CBI pointed out lapses by Kerala police officers Siby Mathew, K K Joshwa and S Vijayan, who probed the case. In a report to the Kerala government, it called for “necessary action as deemed fit”. The CBI had also submitted a report to the Union Home Ministry about the role of some Intelligence Bureau officials, including R Sreekumar.
In June, 2012, the Kerala home secretary issued an order saying it was not proper or legal to take action against the officials after 15 years. The government decided no action needs to be taken. Of the three Kerala police officers, Mathew was serving as DGP (fire forces and rescue) when he opted for VRS in 2011, with a year left in service. The LDF government then made him state chief information commissioner. Joshwa retired as an SP in early 2013. S Vijayan retired in 2012, also as an SP. He was with the National Investigating Agency for a brief period.
The CBI report said Mathew had indiscriminately ordered the arrest of the scientist and others without conducting a thorough interrogation or adequately verifying their disclosures.