The Kerala High Court on Friday extended the interim protection form arrest granted to retired intelligence officer, PS Jayaprakash, one of the accused in the ISRO conspiracy case (PS Jayaprakash Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation).
Single-judge, Justice K Haripal, granted the petitioner interim anticipatory bail until the July 1. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is expected to file its response in the matter by then.
Jayaprakash, a retired Deputy Central Intelligence Officer, had earlier this week, approached the High Court seeking anticipatory bail after the CBI named him as an accused in the ISRO conspiracy case.
Jayaprakash filed his plea through advocate Kaleeswaram Raj and submitted that he had been arraigned as an accused in the conspiracy case.
When the matter first came up for hearing on June 23, the Court had sought the CBI’s response and ordered that Jayaprakash should not be arrested till today.
During the hearing today, Raj submitted that the petitioner was only a middle level officer who was part of the team that was helping the Kerala Police in investigation. He stated that Jayaprakash was serving as Deputy Central Intelligence Officer Grade-I of the subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, Kochi.
He further contended that the petitioner was part of the investigation for only about a month and that he joined the investigating team only after the registration of the FIR against Nambiar and others.
He further revealed that the petitioner is accused no. 11 and that all the offences alleged against him are bailable except for one, the offence under Section 365 of IPC (kidnapping or abduction with intent to secretly and wrongfully to confine person).
He also informed the Court that the second accused in the case, Sibi Mathews, had already been granted anticipatory bail by the Sessions Court.
Assistant Solicitor General, P Vijayakumar, submitted on behalf of the CBI, that the matter is being enquired into by them as per the directions issued by the Supreme Court in April 2021.
He stated that the CBI had been directed to continue their enquiry and submit a report by the second week of July.
However, as the matter is sensitive, he informed the Court that the Additional Solicitor General himself would like to appear for the matter and sought for an adjournment till July 1, 2021.
He assured the court that they would file a statement today.
Advocate C Unnikrishnan, informed the court that the de-facto complainant, Nambi Narayanan, has sought to be impleaded as an additional respondent in the case and that an application has been filed for the same.
He contended that the petitioner had, in 1994, falsified information that led to Narayanan's arrest and that he had even participated in torturing him.
However, Raj contended that this very fact shows that this case is vindictive in nature and exposes the agenda of the investigating agencies, thereby fortifying the petitioner's case.
He reiterated the request for anticipatory bail by submitting that the petitioner is an ailing 71-year-old widower who only obeyed the orders of his superior officers in 1994.
The Court issued an order granting interim anticipatory bail until July 1, when the case will be heard next.
The Supreme Court had, in 2018, constituted a three-member panel under retired judge, Justice DK Jain to identify those responsible for the wrongful arrest, custodial torture and unjustified incarceration of ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan and others in the ISRO Espionage case, 1994.
Pursuant to this, the Central government had requested the Court to take cognisance of the report submitted by the Jain committee.
Consequently, the Supreme Court forwarded the report to the CBI as it felt that the findings of the committee deserved thorough investigation.
The CBI then opened a criminal enquiry against several former law enforcement officials allegedly involved in the police frame-up of Nambi Narayanan and others.
The CBI had after examining the Jain panel report, filed a First Information Report (FIR) marked as classified in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvananthapuram.
According to reports, the offences alleged in the new FIR are under the following Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
167 - Public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury
218 - Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment
330 - Voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession
323 - Voluntarily causing hurt
195 - Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of offence punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment
348 - Wrongful confinement to extort confession
365 - Kidnapping or abduction with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person
477A - Falsification of accounts
506 - Criminal Intimidation
120B - Criminal Conspiracy