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ISRO Spy Case: SC Cancels Anticipatory Bails Of Ex-Officials

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the Kerala High Court order granting anticipatory bail to persons in connection with the 1994 ISRO espionage case relating to the framing of alleged scientist Nambi Narayanan.

A bench headed by Justice MR Shah remitted the bail applications back to the Kerala High Court and asked it to decide it as early as possible, within a period of four weeks.

The apex court also granted protection from arrest to the accused for five weeks as an interim arrangement till the High Court finally decides the matter.

The CBI had challenged the Kerala High Court order granting anticipatory bail to five persons. The apex court bench reserved the order on November 28.

The Kerala High Court had granted anticipatory bail to four accused — the former Gujarat Director-General of Police (DGP) RB SreeKumar, former Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) Siby Mathews, two former police officers of Kerala S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt, and retired intelligence official PS Jayaprakash — in connection with the case.

Seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted them, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had said the grant of anticipatory bail might derail the investigation in the case.

Earlier CBI had told the apex court that it has found in its probe that some scientists were tortured and framed in the matter due to which development of the cryogenic engine was hit and this led to India’s space programme going back by almost one or two decades.

Opposing the bail granted to the accused, CBI had said it is a “very serious matter” and there may be a larger conspiracy at the behest of foreign hands which is being investigated.

The CBI had alleged that there was a clear indication that the accused were part of a team, which had ulterior motives to torpedo the attempts of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for manufacturing the cryogenic engine.

It had registered a case against 18 persons for various offences, including criminal conspiracy, in connection with the arrest and detention of Narayanan, who was accused of spying in 1994.

The case relates to allegations of transfer of certain confidential documents on India’s space programme to foreign countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

CBI had earlier given a clean chit to Narayanan and said that the Kerala police had “fabricated” the case. The investigating agency stated that the technology ex-scientist was accused to have stolen and sold in the 1994 case did not even exist at that time and then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for his illegal arrest.

On September 14, 2018, the top court had appointed a three-member committee and directed the Kerala government to give Rs 50 lakh compensation to Narayanan for compelling him to undergo immense humiliation.

Terming the police action against Narayanan as a “psycho-pathological treatment”, the top court had also said that his liberty and dignity, basic to his human rights, were jeopardised as he was taken into custody and, eventually, despite all the glory of the past, was compelled to face “cynical abhorrence”. (ANI)

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Indian Startups Satellites: Jitendra

Indian Startups Will Soon Launch Satellites: Jitendra Singh

Union Minister for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh on Monday said the Indian startups would soon launch space satellites as well as satellite constellations and try their rockets.

Speaking at the India Space Conclave here on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Indian Space Association, ISpA, Jitendra Singh said the “revolutionary and out of box decision” of PM Modi to unlock the space sector for private industry in June 2020 changed the very nature of space ecosystem of the country.
The Minister also informed that five PSLVs are being domestically produced by L&T and HAL, while OneWeb is all set to launch their satellites through ISRO and NSIL.

Singh said space reforms have unleashed the innovative potentials of startups within a short span of time, “from a couple of space start-ups three-four years back, today we have 102 startups working in cutting-edge areas of space debris management, nano-satellite, launch vehicle, ground systems, research etc”.

With the integration of R&D, academia and industry with equal stake, it is safe to say that a Space Revolution led by ISRO along with the private sector and startups is on the horizon, the minister said.

Singh said, the strength and innovative potential of the country’s young and private industrial enterprise will take a lead in the global space technology disruption in times to come. He expressed hope that India’s young technology wizards shall breach new barriers in the field of space technology while they set out to address the limitless opportunities offered by the space domain.

The minister lauded the role of ISA for marvellously working in developing and forming global linkages for the growth of the Indian space industry in a short span of one year. He said members of ISA are continuously striving in undertaking policy advocacy and engaging in the reciprocation of knowledge and vision to make India a flag bearer in the sphere of space tech domain.

ISpA is acting as a major contributor toward supplementing the Indian Government’s endeavours to make India acquire a leading position in the arena of commercialised space-based excursions. He said for this ISpA’s role as a commune to deliberate interactions between the key stakeholders becomes a vital and critical one.

The minister hoped that ISpA keeping the motto of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ high will usher in important technological advancements and investments in the country which will eventually create high-skill job opportunities while following the government’s approach to space reforms.

Dwelling on the strategic relevance of Space in view of recent global conflicts, Jitendra Singh said space, a dual-use technology domain, is emerging as an important multi-faceted enabler that provides unprecedented reach.

He added that many nations are today focusing on developing their military space capabilities to ensure its safe, secure, and friendly use along with deterrence capability to deny it to adversaries, when necessary.

Singh elaborated that India too has resolved to leverage the strengths of this emerging dimension of warfare, and in fact, the Indian government is undertaking strong and decisive steps towards ensuring Atmanirbharta in the space sector to ensure “our private industrial capability and capacity are effectively energised and channelized to develop cutting-edge solutions which would give India a decisive edge over our others in times to come”.

According to a release, the minister highlighted the constructive role played by ISpA in engaging with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Ministry of Defence and the three services to address their requirements and said that ISpA will play a much deeper role in supporting the capability and capacity-building initiatives of the government in times to come. (ANI)

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