ISRO espionage case: CBI files chargesheet against 5 ex-police officers for 'framing' scientist

Then DIG Siby Mathews, Gujarat IB officer RB Sreekumar, SIB Kerala officer PS Jayaprakash, Kerala DySP KK Joshua, Kerala SI S Vijayan are the officers to face prosecution.
Siby Mathews, RB Sreekumar
Siby Mathews, RB Sreekumar

New Delhi | The CBI has filed a chargesheet against two former DGPs, Siby Mathews of Kerala and R B Sreekumar of Gujarat, and three other retired police officials in connection with the alleged framing of space scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 ISRO espionage case, officials said.

Three years after registering a case in 2021 following the Supreme Court's directions, the CBI has filed its chargesheet against then deputy inspector general of police Mathews, who headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the 1994 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) espionage case, Sreekumar, who was the deputy director in the Intelligence Bureau, P S Jayaprakash, who was then posted in the SIB-Kerala, then deputy superintendent of police K K Joshua and inspector S Vijayan.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged them under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 342 (wrongful confinement), 330 (voluntarily causing hurt to extract a confession), 167 (creating false documents), 193 (fabricating evidence), 354 (criminal assault on women) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the officials said.

The federal agency had lodged the case on the Supreme Court's orders on April 15, 2021. The apex court had ordered the probe on the basis of the report of a high-level committee, which had said the investigation into the role of erring police officials in the 1994 espionage case involving Narayanan be given to the CBI.

The Kerala Police had registered two cases in October 1994 after Maldivian national Rasheeda was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram for allegedly obtaining secret drawings of ISRO rocket engines for selling to Pakistan.

Narayanan, the then director of the cryogenic project at the ISRO, was arrested, along with the then ISRO deputy director D Sasikumaran and Fousiya Hasan, a Maldivian friend of Rasheeda.

The CBI probe had found the allegations to be false.

Terming the police action against the former ISRO scientist "psychopathological treatment", the apex court had, in September 2018, said his "liberty and dignity", basic to his human rights, were jeopardised as he was taken into custody and, despite all the glory of the past, was eventually compelled to face "cynical abhorrence".

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