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ISRO Espionage Case: Maldivian Women Move Kerala High Court Against Former Police Officers' Bail Plea

Hannah M Varghese
21 July 2021 3:36 AM GMT
ISRO Espionage Case: Maldivian Women Move Kerala High Court Against Former Police Officers Bail Plea

Two Maldivian nationals Mariyam Rasheeda and Fouziyya Hassan who were arrested in the ISRO espionage case in 1994 along with scientist Nambi Narayanan, have filed an objection before the Kerala High Court opposing the anticipatory bail plea of two former police officers involved in their arrest and detention.

The two women have alleged that the joint plea moved by S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt was 'premature and unsustainable' for the reason that the sole motive of the applicants was to get away from the clutches of law. The objection was filed by Advocates Prasad Gandhi, Jaya Prasada, and S.P Sreejith. The Maldivian women were impleaded as additional respondents in the said bail pleas recently.

The duo vehemently objected to the plea, claiming that they suffered more than three years in the Indian prison despite being innocent. They were accused of leaking confidential drawings and the existing cryogenic technology to Pakistan on behalf of Nambi Narayanan in 1994. Their overstay in the country raised further suspicion of their involvement in espionage.

However, in their objection, they asserted that they had to overstay solely because of the applicant. According to them, although both their Visas were to expire in one month, they could not go back due to the flu pandemic back then, and hence sought an extension of time. However, this was deliberately delayed by the applicant for personal vengeance.

Mariyam Rasheeda has further accused applicant Vijayan of attempting to sexually harass her at the hotel she was residing in. Following the incident, he deliberately delayed the issuance of their travel documents, thereby blocking their journey.

Thereafter, the applicant allegedly arrested both Maldivians for overstay in the country and falsely implicated them in the espionage case subsequently. There was absolutely no credible evidence to set the law in motion, therefore their acts were illegal and punishable, the objection reads. They also alleged that the crimes were registered against them without any lawful authority since the applicants were not competent to do so under the Indian Official Secrets Act.

When their illegal detention was challenged before the Supreme Court, the verdict came in their favour. Accordingly, the Apex Court directed for an investigation into the personal and official benefits of the eighteen officers in the matter, which included the applicants. Pursuant to this direction, the CBI launched an investigation, following which the applicants preferred an anticipatory bail application.

They submitted that the applicants 'should not be permitted to scuttle the due processor law and escape from his illegal, improper, and malafide criminal actions' against them. It was added that they were falsely implicated by the applicants for political mileage.

CBI has also submitted on a previous occasion that the offences against the two accused were serious in nature as they both "played an active role and concocted an espionage case in pursuance of the conspiracy with the other accused in the FIR (registered by CBI) and other unknown persons". Vijayan and Dutt were part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which arrested the scientist and the two women.

Case Title: Vijayan & Ors v. Central Bureau of Investigation & Ors

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