ISRO espionage case: Ex-DGP Sreekumar seeks transit bail from Gujarat HC

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Ahmedabad, Jul 22 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the CBI and ordered protection from arrest to retired Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar till July 28 on his plea seeking transit bail in connection with an ISRO 'espionage' case in which he is an accused.

Shreekumar, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer, was named as an accused, along with 17 other retired law enforcement officers, in an FIR filed by the CBI in the 1994 espionage case, in which former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan was allegedly framed.

While issuing the notice to the CBI, which is returnable on July 28, Justice AS Supehia granted him protection from arrest till that date.

Sreekumar had sought protection from arrest till he approaches the Kerala High Court for anticipatory bail as the matter was under its jurisdiction because the FIR was filed in the Thiruvananthapuram Chief Judicial Magistrate court.

Between July 1992 and April 1995, Sreekumar was posted as deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau at Thiruvananthapuram, then promoted to the IGP rank in IB and stayed there until July 2000 before being repatriated to Gujarat cadre.

In its FIR, the CBI had booked Sreekumar and others in IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfei­ture 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt).

Other IPC sections which were invoked against them included 330 (voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession) 195 (giving or fabricating false evidence), 348 (wrongful confinement to extort confession), 477 A (falsification of accounts) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The Supreme Court had directed the CBI to conduct investigation into the allegations of framing Nambi Narayanan, an aerospace engineer who worked for the ISRO, on false espionage charges by the police.

The SC ruling was based of the findings of a three-member committee set up under chairmanship of retired apex court judge DK Jain.

In its FIR, the CBI had named 18 former Kerala police officers, including Sreekumar.

Narayanan, who was working at ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, was absolved of the espionage charges following a CBI probe.

After the probe, he had approached the apex court seeking action against Kerala police officials who allegedly framed him.

In the past, Sreekumar had been critical of the Gujarat government over its handling of the 2002 post-Godhra riots. PTI KA PD RSY RSY

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