Millennium Post (Kolkata)

SC asks CBI to conduct further probe into role of erring cops


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Thursday ordered that the report of a high-level committee on the role of erring police officials in 1994 espionage case relating to ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan be given to the CBI and directed the agency to conduct further investigat­ion on the issue.

The apex court said the CBI may treat the panel's findings as part of preliminar­y investigat­ion and asked the agency to submit its report to the court within three months.

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the report of the three-member panel, headed by former top court judge Justice D K Jain, be kept in a sealed cover and it should not be published.

We direct the registry to retain the copy of the report in sealed cover. However, the registrar judicial of this court shall forward one copy to the acting director of CBI, who will proceed in accordance with law. It may be open to the CBI to treat the report as preliminar­y report and consider it for preliminar­y enquiry, said the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari.

The report shall not be made public as it is not for public circulatio­n but part of investigat­ion .This report is not for publicatio­n. The CBI shall file its preliminar­y report within three months to this court, it said.

The top court rejected the submission of former DGP Siby Mathews, who was then heading the SIT probe team, that he was not heard by the committee while Narayanan was heard.

The bench said the committee was not to adjudicate the matter but it had to go through circumstan­tial evidence and form a prima facie view on the acts of omission and commission of erring officials.

The apex court was hearing the Centre's plea seeking considerat­ion of the report filed by the committee regarding the role of erring police officials in espionage case relating to Narayanan, who had been acquitted and was eventually awarded Rs 50 lakh compensati­on by the top court.

On April 5, the Centre had moved the top court seeking urgent hearing and considerat­ion of the panel's report terming it as a national issue .

The apex court had appointed the panel on September 14, 2018 while directing the Kerala government to cough up Rs 50 lakh compensati­on for compelling Narayanan to undergo “immense humiliatio­n”.

It had ordered setting up of the committee to take appropriat­e steps against the erring officials for causing “tremendous harassment” and “immeasurab­le anguish” to Narayanan and had directed the Centre and state government to nominate one officer each in the panel.

Terming the police action against the ex-scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisati­on (ISRO) as a “psychopath­ological treatment”, the apex court had in September 2018 said that his “liberty and dignity”, basic to his human rights, were jeopardise­d as he was taken into custody and, eventually, despite all the glory of the past, was compelled to face “cynical abhorrence”.

The espionage case, which had hit the headlines in 1994, pertained to allegation­s of transfer of certain confidenti­al documents on India's space programme to foreign countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

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