The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the anticipatory bail granted by Kerala High Court to four former senior officials of law enforcement agencies in connection with the conspiracy to frame former Indian Space Research Organisation scientist Nambi Narayanan in an espionage case, Bar and Bench reported.

The order was passed on a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The central agency had begun its investigation into the wrongful arrest of Narayan and others following a Supreme Court order in April based on a report filed by a three-member committee led by retired judge DK Jain. The court had tasked Jain to investigate the officials responsible in the case because of which the prominent space scientist was falsely implicated.

The four accused men are former Intelligence Bureau officers RB Sreekumar, PS Jayaprakash, Thampi S Durga Dutt and retired Superintendent of Police S Vijayan.

The court on Friday said that the accused persons shall not be arrested for five week ssubject to their cooperation with the investigation.

“The matter is remitted to the High Court to be decided afresh in the light of our observations,” the court said. “The High Court is to decide the matter preferably within 4 weeks.”

ISRO espionage case

Narayanan and six others were accused of selling secrets pertaining to ISRO’s cryogenic programme to women who were allegedly spying for Russia, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and other countries.

He and two others – Bengaluru-based businessmen Chandrasekharan and SK Sharam – were arrested in November 1994 on charges of espionage. The case was later handed over to the CBI. In its final report to the chief judicial magistrate in April 1996, the CBI had said there was lack of evidence to substantiate the accusations.

All the accused persons were acquitted by a division bench of the Kerala High Court. In its order, the court had said there was no need to take action against the former director general of police and retired superintendents of police KK Joshua and S Vijayan.

In 2015, Narayanan moved the Supreme Court seeking criminal and disciplinary action against the officers. He accused them of falsely implicating him in the case. In September 2018, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court said Narayanan was a victim of the allegations made by the Kerala Police.

The Supreme Court said Narayanan’s arrest was “needless and unnecessary” and granted him a compensation of Rs 50 lakh for being subjected to mental cruelty in the case. Besides this, the National Human Rights Commission recommended Rs 10 lakh compensation.

Narayanan had filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court to challenge the Kerala government’s decision to not take any action against erring police officers.