THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former DGP Siby Mathews, who is listed as an accused by the CBI probing the conspiracy behind the 1994 ISRO espionage case, has been granted interim anticipatory bail till Tuesday by the District Court.
Mathews approached the court seeking anticipatory bail after reports emerged that the central agency will fast-track action against former state police and Intelligence Bureau officials who were listed as accused by the CBI. The court, meanwhile, also sought the CBI's opinion on Mathews' anticipatory bail plea.
The CBI had named 18 former officers in its FIR filed before the CJM Court here. The CBI had initiated the probe on the instruction of the Supreme Court. The court perused the Justice D K Jain report to reach a conclusion that the case ought to be investigated by the premier agency to unearth if there was any conspiracy to frame former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan and others.
In the FIR filed by the Delhi unit, former state Special Branch inspector S Vijayan and then Pettah station sub-inspector Thampi S Durgadutt have been listed the first and second accused, respectively. Then city police commissioner V R Rajeevan, former DGP Sibi Mathews, former IB deputy director R B Sreekumar and former DySP K K Joshua are the other prominent names featured in the list of accused.
Sibi had then headed the special team to probe the sensational case that began with the arrest of two Maldivian women, who were accused of indulging in honey-trapping to leak sensitive information regarding India's space projects to foreign agencies.
The FIR listed 10 charges against the accused, including Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, fabrication of evidence, kidnapping, torture, etc. The case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan was arrested on charges of espionage along with another senior official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman.
The case had created a political storm in Kerala when the group war in the Congress was at its peak. Later, then chief minister K Karunakaran had to quit office in 1995 after reports came out that he was protecting his close aide and senior police officer Raman Srivastava, who was then an inspector-general. Srivastava then went on to become the state police chief and later police advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The CBI in 1996 found that the charges against Narayanan were phoney following which the case against him was dropped.