Kochi: A division bench of Kerala High Court on Wednesday set aside a single bench judgement directing action against former DGP Siby Mathews and other police officials who were part of a Special Investigation Team, that had probed the ISRO espionage, case for their alleged lapses.
Earlier, the single bench had directed the government to take action against three officials of SIT, including its head Mathews, on the basis of a CBI report.
In his writ appeal challenging the single judge’s direction, Mathews had contended there were sufficient reasons for the arrest of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan and other accused in the case.
Allowing the appeal filed by Mathews and another police official KK Joshua, the bench, consisting acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and AM Shaffique, said no action is required against them after a lapse of 15 years.
Referring to the CBI report, relied by Nambi Narayanan, the bench observed that the report of CBI is only an opinion.
“Government may consider or may not consider such opinion,” the bench observed.
The bench also said the government’s decision to drop action was in the light of the report of the state police chief. Right from the Chief Judicial Magistrate court to the Supreme Court, no action was recommended against SIT, the bench observed.
“It will not be proper or legal to take action on the basis of CBI report after 15 years”, the bench said and added that the single bench did not appreciate case in proper perspective.
The subject matter of the case is a report sent to the state government by CBI alleging laspses in the investigation carried out by the members of SIT. Considering the report, and after getting the opinion of the state police chief, government had decided not to proceed with the case.
Challenging this, Nambi Narayanan had moved the court, seeking initiation of criminal and disciplinary action against Mathews and two retired Supertendents of police- Joshua and S Vijayan who were held responsible by CBI for his illegal arrest. The single judge’s order was in favour of Nambi Narayanan.
The senior scientist had been accused of being involved in the espionage case but was later discharged.
The ISRO spy case had surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan, along with another top official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman, was arrested on espionage charges.