The Kerala High Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to six former law enforcement officials in connection with the alleged conspiracy to frame former Indian Space Research Organisation scientist Nambi Narayanan in an espionage case, Live Law reported.

The officials are former director generals of police RB Sreekumar and Siby Mathew, Kerala Police officers S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt and former Intelligence Bureau officers PS Jayaprakash and VK Maini.

Justice K Babu, however, directed the officials to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation on January 27 for interrogation.

“In the event of their arrest, they shall be released on bail on their executing bond for Rs 1 lakh each with two solvent sureties each for the like sum,” the court said in its order, according to Live Law. “They shall continue to appear before the investigating officer for interrogation on Mondays and Fridays for a period of two weeks.”

The court also added that the officials cannot leave the country without prior permission from the court and should cooperate with the investigation of the case.

On December 2, the Supreme Court had quashed the anticipatory bail granted earlier by the High Court to the accused. It had directed the court to hear their anticipatory bail petitions again on merits.

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.