Former officials pulled for failing to conduct fair probe in ISRO spy case
The officials of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), who probed the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) espionage case, had acted in an unprofessional manner and caused mental agony to six persons, who were arraigned as accused in the case, according to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In its report on the role of IB officials in the investigation, the CBI had pulled up former Joint Director Mathew John and former Deputy Director R.B. Sreekumar of failing in their duty to conduct the inquiry in a fair manner.
On the unofficial notes on investigation prepared by the then IB Director and dispatched to the Union Home Minister, Union Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Home Secretary and other high functionaries, the CBI pointed out that the notes were prepared without verification of the interrogation report. This led to serious complications, including casting doubts on the integrity of two top ISRO scientists, it said.
The IB officers did not verify the veracity of the statements of the accused persons. Had the IB officials carried out on-the-spot verification of the disclosures allegedly made by the accused, the arrests of innocent persons could have been avoided, it said.
The report blamed the IB officials for torturing and ill-treating Maldivian woman Mariyam Rasheeda, businessman Chandrasekhar and space scientist Nambi Narayanan. Though Mr. Narayanan and S.K. Sharma, a businessman, were interrogated, the IB officials did not prepare the interrogation reports. The statements were not recorded as it appeared that the accused did not toe the line suggested by the IB officials, it said.
The interrogation reports of Fauzia Hassan, another Maldivian national, Ms. Rasheeda, Mr. Chandrasekhar and Mr. Sasikumaran, another space scientist, were found undated and unsigned, which prevented the possibility of identifying the officials who questioned them. Though the interrogations of Ms. Hassan, Mr. Chandrasekhar and Mr. Sasikumaran were videographed and the tapes produced in the Kerala High Court, no officers admitted to having videographed the interrogation, it said.
Even the Joint Director, IB, who was overall in charge of interrogations, failed to identify the officers who videographed the interrogation. The Deputy Director of the IB went on to state that he was unaware of videography, the report said.
Responding to the developments, Mr. Sreekumar said a subsequent department inquiry had absolved all the officials who were criticised by the CBI in its report.
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