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of the three-member panel, headed by former top court judge Justice D K Jain, be kept in a sealed cover and it should not be published.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The report shall not be made public as it is not for public circulation but part of investigation .This report is not for publication.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.