Former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews was on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail by a Sessions Court in Kerala in the case registered by the CBI in connection with the illegal arrest of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan and two Maldives nationals in a 1994 spying case.

The relief was granted by Principal District and Sessions Judge P Krishnakumar. Advocate V Ajakumar appeared for Mathews. Advocate Prasad Gandhi appeared for the two Maldivian nationals.

Both Narayanan and the two women from Maldives had opposed granting any relief to Mathews. Recently Kerala High Court had granted anticipatory bail to three former police officers including former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekuamar and a retired Intelligence Bureau (IB) official in the same case.

CBI has lodged the case against Mathews and 17 others, including IB officials, for various offences like criminal conspiracy and kidnapping and fabrication of evidence, under the IPC in connection with the arrest of Narayanan and the two Maldives nationals Mariyam Rasheeda and Fouziyya Hasan in 1994.

After arrest of the women, the Kerala police had implicated the ISRO scientists Narayanan and D. Sasikumaran and later the case was investigated by the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) on request of the Kerala police. Later, it was found that scientists were implicated in the false case and Narayanan approached the apex court seeking action against the erring officials.

The Supreme Court had on April 15 ordered that the report of a high-level committee on the role of erring police officials in the espionage case be given to the CBI and directed the agency to conduct further investigation and gather inputs in the case.

The three-member committee, headed by former apex court judge Justice (retd) D K Jain, was appointed by the top court in 2018 after acquitting Narayanan in the case.

The Supreme Court had also directed the Kerala government to pay Rs 50 lakh as compensation for compelling Narayanan to undergo "immense humiliation".

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

The CBI, in its probe back then, had held that the then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for Narayanan's illegal arrest and then registered a complaint on June 17.

With inputs from PTI