29 July 2021 10:27 AM GMT
Retired Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar approached the Kerala High Court on Thursday seeking anticipatory bail in the ISRO espionage case where scientist Nambi Narayanan was implicated for allegedly selling confidential information and technology to Pakistan in 1994. Justice K Haripal after hearing the parties tagged the matter with two connected bail applications before the bench of Justice...
Retired Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar approached the Kerala High Court on Thursday seeking anticipatory bail in the ISRO espionage case where scientist Nambi Narayanan was implicated for allegedly selling confidential information and technology to Pakistan in 1994.
Justice K Haripal after hearing the parties tagged the matter with two connected bail applications before the bench of Justice Ashok Menon. The Court also granted an interim relief that the petitioner shall not be arrested till the next hearing. The matter has been posted on Monday with the connected matters for further consideration.
The petitioner was posted as the deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau at Thiruvananthapuram between 1992 and 1995. Later on, he was deputed to assist the Kerala police in the alleged espionage matter.
Approximately 11 IB officers who were similarly deputed were named as accused in the FIR lodged by the CBI. The petitioner has been arrayed as the seventh accused in the case.
Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayan had accused the petitioner of torturing him and falsifying records to implicate him. The CBI in its affidavit also submitted that Sreekumar knew Narayan as the former was once commandant at VSSC (ISRO) unit in Trivandrum and that 'they were not on good terms'.
Senior Advocate S Sreekumar initiated the arguments by objecting to the request of impleading of the state of Kerala in the matter. He referred to two orders granted by the Gujarat High Court dated 20th July releasing him on bail and order dated 28th July granting him interim relief that he will not be arrested till 2:30 PM today.
ASG S.V Raju submitted that he had appeared before Gujarat High Court earlier today and that the petitioner did not press the case, and it was consequently dismissed. He has not even asked for an extension of the order, he argued.
The fact that two other bail applications were pending before another Bench was brought to the notice of the Court. The Single Bench also observed that in both these matters, an interim bail had been granted to the petitioners.
The ASG vehemently opposed the Court's decision to extend the interim order granted to the petitioner. When the Court inquired if he could provide an undertaking that the petitioner will not be arrested till the matter is decided, the ASG responded as such:
"I cannot give such a statement because this is a matter that pertains to national security."
Despite several arguments and contentions raised by the ASG, the Court directed that it 'cannot and did not intend to hear the matter since it was to be tagged with another Bench'.
The Bench, therefore, tagged the matter with the connected cases and was inclined to pass an interim order directing that the petitioner shall not be arrested till Monday.
The Gujarat High Court had reserved its order on Wednesday in the application filed by the petitioner seeking transit bail in the case. During the oral proceedings, Justice Vipul Pancholi had suggested Advocate MM Tirmizi appearing for the petitioner to file an application of relief before the Kerala High Court.
In the proceedings before the Gujarat High Court, the Bench had also observed that the concept of transit bail was no longer relevant in the age of online case hearings while staying the arrest registered against the petitioner.
Nambi Narayanan was given a clean chit by the CBI after the Kerala Police implicated him for espionage along with two Maldivian women. Thereafter, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to conduct a detailed probe into the officials responsible for implicating him. It was in this investigation that the petitioner was arrayed as an accused.