ISRO espionage case: In a latest development to the ISRO espionage case, the Supreme Court on Friday quashed the Kerala High Court order granting anticipatory bail to four accused including a former Director General of Police (DGP).
According to reports, they have been granted bail in a case of the alleged frame-up of scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 ISRO espionage matter. The matter was remanded back to the high court by a bench of justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar, who directed it to decide the issue within four weeks.
"All these appeals allowed. Impugned orders granting anticipatory bail passed by HC are quashed and set aside. All matters are remitted back to the HC to be decided afresh on it own merits. This court had not observed anything on merits for either of the parties," the bench stated.
The bench further said it is ultimately for the high court to pass orders. "We request the HC to decide the anticipatory bail applications at the earliest preferably within four weeks from the date of this order," the bench added.
SC orders high court to notify bail applications before the bench within 2 weeks
The Apex Court also directed the registry of the high court to notify bail applications before the bench concerned within one week from December 2.
"Till then by way of an interim arrangement, and without prejudice to rights, it is directed that for a period of five weeks and till the bail applications are finally decided by HC on remand, the respondents may not be arrested subject to cooperation in the investigation," the top court said.
Notably, the latest judgement came on the CBI's appeal against the high court order granting bail to former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar, two former police officers of Kerala S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt, and a retired intelligence official PS Jayaprakash.
About the ISRO espionage case
The espionage case, which 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.
The case was first investigated by the state police and later handed over to the CBI, which found no espionage as was alleged to have taken place.
The scam also had its political fallout with a section in the Congress targeting then chief minister late K Karunakaran over the issue, which eventually led to his resignation.
In 1998, the apex court granted compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Narayanan and others, who were discharged in the case, and directed the state government to pay the amount.
He later approached the NHRC claiming compensation from the state government for the mental agony and torture suffered by him.
The NHRC, after hearing both sides and taking into account the apex court judgement of April 29, 1998, awarded him interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh in March 2001.
(With inputs from PTI)