ISRO case: Maldives women urge CBI to place their damages claim before Supreme Court
Thiruvananthapuram: Two Maldives nationals, who were also arrested along with scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 ISRO spy case, have moved the CBI requesting it to place before the Supreme Court their claim for damages of Rs 2 crore from each of the 18 officers who are arrayed as accused in the conspiracy case being probed by the agency.
The two women -- Mariyam Rasheeda and Fousiya Hasan -- have made the request to CBI as the agency has registered a case against the 18 officers, which includes Intelligence Bureau officials, for various offences which include criminal conspiracy and kidnapping and fabrication of evidence, under the IPC, in connection with the arrest and detention of Narayanan in the 1994 espionage case.
The women have urged the agency to place their claim for damages before the apex court when it hears CBI's appeal against a Kerala High Court order granting anticipatory bail to four accused - former DGP of Gujarat, two former police officers of Kerala, and a retired intelligence official - in the conspiracy case being probed by the agency.
The agency, in its appeal has sought cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to the four accused by the high court on August 13.
The high court, while granting the relief to the accused, had said," There is not even a scintilla of evidence regarding the petitioners being influenced by any foreign power so as to induce them to hatch a conspiracy to falsely implicate the scientists of the ISRO with the intention to stall the activities of the ISRO with regard to the development of the cryogenic engine."
Advocate Prasad Gandhi, who represented the two women in their pleas before the Kerala High Court and a Sessions Court in Thiruvananthapuram, opposing grant of any relief to the accused in the conspiracy case, told PTI that they have urged the CBI to place their claim for damages before the apex court when it hears the appeal.
Gandhi said that such a claim can only be raised by them through the agency and the women cannot directly approach the apex court for relief.
The women are seeking the damages for the mental and physical torture as well as monetary loss suffered by them during their more than three-year long incarceration in a prison here in the espionage case.
They have claimed that they were not spies and were falsely implicated in the matter after one of them -- Mariyam Rasheeda -- denied the advances of one of officers of the SIT which was investigating the espionage case back then.
The Supreme Court had, on April 15, ordered that the report of the committee, appointed by it, on the role of erring police officials in the espionage case relating to Narayanan be given to the CBI and directed it to conduct further investigations into the issue.
The committee was appointed by the apex court to look into the allegations against the police officers in the spying case.
The espionage case pertained to allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on the space programme of India to foreign countries by two scientists and four others, including the two Maldivians.
The CBI, in its probe at that time, had held that top police officials in Kerala were responsible for Narayanan's arrest which the agency said was illegal.
The case had a political fallout too, with a section in the Congress party targeting the then Chief Minister K Karunakaran, who is now dead, over the issue that eventually led to his resignation. PTI