The Supreme Court set aside the order passed by the Kerala High Court granting anticipatory bail to former police officials in the case related to the 1994 espionage case wherein ISRO scientist S. Nambi Narayanan was allegedly framed by the police officials.

The Apex Court, remanding the matter to the High Court, observed that "it appears that the High Court has made some observations without considering the individual role played by the respective accused when they were working in the Kerala Police/IB and without considering the nature of allegations against them, we are of the opinion that the matters need to be remanded to the High Court to consider the anticipatory bail applications afresh."

The Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice C.T. Ravikumar remitted the bail applications back to the High Court to decide the same afresh in accordance with law and on their own merits and observed that the High Court has omitted to take into account several aspects and said that "The High Court has also not taken note of the recommendations made by the Committee headed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.K. Jain, a former Judge of this Court."

In 2018, the Apex Court awarded 50 lakhs compensation to S. Nambi Narayan for his illegal arrest and custodial torture and constituted a Committee headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice D.K. Jain to unearth the larger conspiracy to take appropriate steps against the erring officials. The report of the committee was submitted before the Supreme Court in April 2021 and in consideration of that the Supreme Court directed the CBI to take action on the Justice Jain Committee report.

Consequently, the CBI registered the present FIR against 18 accused persons including the respondents, who at the relevant time were the officials of Kerala Police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) for alleged offences punishable under Sections 120B, 167, 218, 330, 323, 195, 348, 365, 477A and 506 of the IPC. Apprehending their arrest, the respondents filled the Bail application and were granted Anticipatory bail by the Kerala High Court, which is being challenged before this Court.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju appeared on behalf of the appellant- CBI, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of some respondent.

The Apex Court also granted protection from arrest to the accused for a period of four weeks, subject to their cooperation with the investigation and observed that "it is ultimately for the High Court to pass appropriate order/s in accordance with law and on their own merits" and directed to dispose of the anticipatory bail applications at the earliest within a period of four weeks from date of this order.

Accordingly, the appeals were allowed.

Cause Title- Central Bureau of Investigation v. P.S. Jayaprakash Etc. Etc.

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