ISRO espionage case: CBI moves Supreme Court to cancel bail granted to RB Sreekumar, others

The CBI has moved the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to former Gujarat DGP R.B. Sreekumar and 3 others in the Indian Space Research Organization espionage case.

The CBI also requested the Apex Court to cancel the anticipatory bail of other accused S. Vijayan, Thambi S. Durgadath and P.S. Jayaprakash alleging that  serious allegations have been levelled against the accused, including Sreekumar.

In August this year, the Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to Sreekumar. While granting anticipatory bail, Justice Ashok Menon of the High Court said there was no evidence to suggest that they maybe influenced by any foreign power so as to induce them to hatch a conspiracy to falsely implicate the former ISRO scientists to derail the development of the cryogenic engine.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, who appeared for the CBI, told the high court that it was a serious case and some foreign agencies, including Pakistan’s ISI, were involved in the conspiracy to sabotage the country’s cryogenic project that Nambi Narayanan was a part of in the 1990s.

Sreekumar is the seventh accused in this 1994 espionage case.  Besides Sreekumar, former IB officer Jayaprakash and two Kerala Police officers, S. Vijayan and Thampi S. Durgadath, are also accused and have been granted anticipatory bail by the Kerala High Court.

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In 1994, Kerala Police arrested  ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan for alleged espionage over the allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India's space programme to foreign countries. Narayanan was arrested along with the then ISRO deputy director D. Sasikumaran, and Fousiya Hasan, a Maldivian friend of Rasheeda.

The case came to the light after Maldivian national Rasheeda was arrested in  Thiruvananthapuram in October 1994 for allegedly obtaining secret drawings of ISRO rocket engines to sell it to Pakistan.

After two years of investigation, Narayanan was given a clean-chit by CBI following a closure report in 1996. On April 5 this year, the Centre moved  the  Apex Court seeking consideration of a report filed by a committee regarding the role of police officials in the ISRO espionage case.