New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday posted for March 11 for hearing the plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), challenging the Kerala High Court order granting anticipatory bail to four persons in connection with the 1994 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) espionage case relating to the alleged framing of a scientist Nambi Narayanan.
A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar adjourned the matter after the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought adjournment in the case citing the absence of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) AS Raju on Friday to assist him in the case.
Solicitor General also said that some documents are awaited in the case.
Earlier, the apex court had issued notices to the accused on the petition of CBI.
The Kerala High Court on August 13 last year had granted anticipatory bail to four accused namely, former Gujarat Director-General of Police (DGP) RB SreeKumar, two former police officers of Kerala; S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt, and retired intelligence official PS Jayaprakash, in connection with the case.
Seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to the accused, the CBI said that the grant of anticipatory bail might derail the investigation in the case.
ASG Raju, appearing for CBI, told the apex court that CBI has found in its probe that some scientists were tortured and framed in the matter due to which development of the cryogenic engine was hit and this led to India's space programme going back by almost one or two decades.
Raju stated, "It's a very serious matter" and warned the court that there can be the possibility of a larger conspiracy at the behest of foreign hands which is being investigated.
The CBI had alleged that there was a clear indication that the accused were part of a team, which had ulterior motives to torpedo the attempts of the ISRO for manufacturing the cryogenic engine.
It had registered a case against 18 persons for various offences, including criminal conspiracy, in connection with the arrest and detention of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who was accused of spying in 1994.
The case relates 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.
CBI had earlier given a clean chit to Narayanan and said that the Kerala police had "fabricated" the case. The investigating agency stated that the technology ex-scientist was accused to have stolen and sold in the 1994 case did not even exist at that time and then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for his illegal arrest.
On September 14, 2018, the top court had appointed a three-member committee and directed the Kerala government to give Rs 50 lakh compensation to Narayanan for compelling him to undergo immense humiliation.
Terming the police action against Narayanan as a "psycho-pathological treatment", the top court had also said that 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". (ANI)