Former police officer linked to ISRO Espionage case orchestrated Panayikulam case
Supreme Court of India, last week, upheld Kerala High Court verdict acquitting all accused in the highly publicised “Panaikulam case”, of 2006.
Sibi Mathews, the then Director General of Police (DGP), has shed light about some important milestones regarding this case in his autobiography, published in 2017. In it, he has categorically accused the controversial National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of r the Panaikulam case from the Kerala Police and he alleges that the NIA took up the case with an intension that the left government of Kerala should not have the credit of closing this case and the NIA got the entire credit without any effort. He also notes that the Kerala Police, who prepared the charge sheet after hard and dangerous work, were rewarded only with neglect. The book ‘Nirbhayam – Memoirs of an IPS Officer’ was published by Green Books.
The incident related to the Panaikulam case took place in 2006 during the reign of Left government. A case was filed against 17 people for conducting seminar organized on ‘Role of Muslims in Freedom Struggle’ at the Happy Auditorium in Panaikulam, Ernakulam, on August 15, accusing it as a secret camp of the banned organization SIMI. The case registered by the Binanipuram police was later taken over by the Special Investigation Team and U.A.P.A. section was introduced to it. The NIA took over the case at the stage of filing the charge sheet in the court. 11 people were acquitted in the case and one was pardoned. The trial court convicted 5 persons. The NIA approached the High Court against this and the Division Bench acquitted them all. Subsequently, the Supreme Court rejected the petition filed by the NIA in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict.
From the book ‘Nirbhayam – Memoirs of an IPS Officer. “It was then that Panaikulam SIMI Camp came to our attention. On August 15, 2006, when the country was celebrating Independence Day, 16 Muslim youths gathered at the Happy Auditorium near Binanipuram in Aluva to discuss the persecution faced by Indian Muslims. SI K N Rajesh arrested them and registered a case after finding out that they were activists of SIMI, a banned organization. They were released that very evening when an order came ‘from above’. This was not an intervention from the political leadership but from police elite.”
“A new investigation team took over the investigation of the case on the instructions of the state intelligence. Sections under the unlawful activities prevention act (U A P A) were added, a special law to combat terrorist activities. While investigating the Ahmedabad bomb blast case, it was learned that the accused had attended a camp held at Kottayam Wagamon. Then a case was registered for that too as well. AV George, the Superintendent of Intelligence, and his team were sent to Ahmedabad and Bangalore to gather information about the investigations being conducted by the Anti-Terrorism Squad…”
“The investigation of the Panaikulam case, the Wagamon case and the Kashmir recruitment case was completed with heavy effort, but the NIA under the central government took up the further investigation of these cases just before the charge sheet was about to submit in the court with an intension that The Left government in Kerala should not take credit for these cases.” “The NIA filed the charge sheet without further investigation. All the three cases were tried in the court. The court convicted all the main accused. The NIA got full credit without putting any effort. The Kerala Police, who prepared the charge sheet after risky and dangerous job were rewarded only with neglect. Rajmohan, who was working under me as Superintendent of Police, was appointed on deputation to NIA.”
The book Nirbhayam was published in 2017. In the book, Sibi Mathews reveals that religious leaders, politicians and the police force often gave unpleasant experiences. Sibi Mathews was the investigating officer of many cases in Kerala. He retired from the service in 2011 after 33 years of service in the Kerala Police. After that, he was the Chief Information Commissioner of the state till 2016.