Kerala High Court lifts the 60-day restriction on Ex-anticipatory DGP's bail in the ISRO espionage case.

Mathews' appeal of the trial court's decision to limit anticipatory bail to 60 days was granted by Justice K Haripal, who also granted him protection from arrest.
kerala assembly

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday overturned a lower court's 60-day time limit on anticipatory bail granted to former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews, who is being investigated by the CBI for allegedly falsely accusing former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in a spying case in 1994.

On August 24, Justice K Haripal granted Mathews' motion to dismiss the trial court's decision to limit anticipatory bail to 60 days, while also providing him protection from arrest.

The precise order is still pending.

Case of spying at the International Space Station

The former DGP, who was supported by senior counsel P Vijaya Bhanu, as well as advocates Ajeesh K Sasi and PM Rafiq, argued that the trial court erred in imposing a validity time on the relief it had granted. A CBI investigation is underway into Mathews and 17 other former Kerala police and IB employees for allegedly falsely accusing Narayanan and others in the 1994 spying case.

The High Court granted anticipatory bail to four of the case's defendants on August 13, and the CBI has appealed this decision to the Supreme Court.

In connection with the arrest of Narayanan and two Maldives nationals, Mariyam Rasheeda and Fouziyya Hassan, the CBI has filed a case against Mathews and 17 others, including IB officials, under the IPC for various offenses such as criminal conspiracy and kidnapping, as well as fabrication of evidence.

The two Maldivians recently petitioned the CBI to bring their claim for Rs 2 crore in damages against each of the 18 personnel charged in the conspiracy case under investigation by the agency before the Supreme Court.

On April 15, the Supreme Court ordered that the CBI receive the findings of a high-level committee on the role of erring police officials in the espionage case involving Narayanan and that the agency conduct an additional inquiry into the matter.

After acquitting Narayanan in the case, the top court established a three-member panel in 2018, led by retired supreme court judge Justice (retd) D K Jain.

The Supreme Court further ordered the Kerala government to pay Narayanan Rs 50 lakh in compensation for subjecting him to "immense humiliation."

The espionage case, which had made headlines at the time, involved charges that two scientists and four people, including two Maldivian women, had sent some confidential documents about India's space program to foreign countries.

In its investigation at the time, the CBI concluded that Narayanan's illegal detention was the result of top police officials in Kerala at the time.

The case had political ramifications as well, with a faction of the Congress challenging then-Chief Minister late K Karunakaran over the matter, leading to his resignation.