Updated: August 14, 2021 8:03:41 am
KERALA HIGH Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar and three others in a case being probed by the CBI relating to an alleged conspiracy to implicate former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 spy case.
Granting the bail to the four retired officials, listed as accused in the case, Justice Ashok Menon said, “There is 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 of the ISRO with the intention to stall the activities of the ISRO with regard to the development of cryogenic engine.”
“Unless there are specific materials regarding their involvement, prima facie, it cannot be said that they were acting against the interest of the country. There is no indication or material, apart from the rhetoric that a foreign power has a hand in persuading the petitioners, and therefore, I find that the petitioners are entitled to the remedy of anticipatory bail,” he said.
Apart from Sreekumar, others who got anticipatory bail are former deputy central intelligence officer P S Jayaprakash, and former Kerala Police officers S Vijayan and Thambi S Durga Dutt.
Opposing the bail applications, Additional Solicitor General of India S V Raju, who appeared for the CBI, argued that the issue involved criminal conspiracy against national security. The accused were part of a team which had ulterior motives to foil ISRO’s attempts to develop the indigenous cryogenic engine, he said.
Referring to the circumstances that led to the registration of the spy case, the court said the concerns of Kerala Police at that stage – in 1994 – cannot be said to be without basis. The investigation into the spy case was dropped after it was found that there was nothing in the allegations made against the scientists.
The court said the accused in the conspiracy case should not be made to face a similar situation of being forced to undergo the ignominy of being incarcerated in prison for interrogation at this old age, after their retirement, for an incident that took place more than 25 years ago.
It observed that some of the documents, produced for perusal, indicate that there were certain suspicious circumstances pointing towards the action of the ISRO scientists and that is what made the accused officers to proceed against them.
Sreekumar, the seventh accused in the case, was the joint director with Intelligence Bureau in Thiruvananthapuram in 1994 when the spy case cropped up. The bail application of former DGP Siby Mathews, the fourth accused in the case, is pending in the district court here.
The CBI is probing the case following orders from the Supreme Court, which initiated proceedings based on the Justice D K Jain Committee report.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.