Kochi: In a blow to the state government, the Kerala High Court on Monday quashed the order dropping action against former Additional DGP Siby Mathews and two others who investigated the ISRO espionage case initially saying the conduct of the government "has not been above board".
The high court directed the state government to reconsider the decision exonerating the officials to set everything right.
Allowing the petition filed by Nambi Narayanan, former ISRO scientist and an accused in the case, Justice A V Ramakrishna Pillai remitted the matter back to the government for reconsideration and issuing formal orders within 3 months.
The court made it clear that "the course of action to be taken was left open to the government but it shall not be namesake making adminstrative justice a mockery".
The judge in his 57-page order said the state government, which was 'enthusiastic' in withdrawing the case from CBI and handing it over to state police, had not taken note of the lapses in invesitgation by Kerala Police 'seriously', as could be seen from the records.
"The kind of seriousness as expected from a welfare state was not shown by the state. The conduct of the state was not above board. It does not confirm with the known pattern of a responsible government bound by rule of law',the court held.
To set everything right, the government should reconsider the decision to exonerate the three officers in the SIT, it said.
Rejecting the argument that Kerala police are investigating over one lakh IPC cases a year, the court said this is not a 'valid reason' for a person like Siby Mathews, who led the SIT team, to justify the irreregularities pointed out in the investigation.
"The duty of an investigating agency is not merely to bolster up a prosecution case but to bring out the real untarnished truth'. The judge said while the SIT failed in that, CBI has done that.
Nambi Narayanan had approahced the court in December 2012 seeking initiation of criminal and disciplinary action against Siby Mathews, and two retired Supertendents of police-- Joshua and S Vijayan who were held responsible by CBI for his illegal arrest.
The senior scienitst was accused of being involved in the espionage case but was later discharged.
CBI had recommeded action against the three SIT officials 15 years ago but action had not yet been taken against them.