Supreme Court of India upheld the decision of High Court of Delhi by refusing to interfere in bail order passed by Delhi High Court in INX Media case.
Facts of the Case
On 28 February Karti Chidambaram was arrested from Chennai Airport for his involvement in money laundering case. It was alleged by C.B.I that Mr. Chidambaram received undue benefits from a private organization namely INX media for allowing them to break foreign investment rules. According to the C.B.I, the accused received about 3.5 crore rupees for his role in the deal. On investigation, it was uncovered that INX Media got the approval of 4.62 crores as investment amount from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The company in question received Rs. 305 crore from two companies based in Mauritius, with each company paying Rs 800 per share as premium. Furthermore, C.B.I also alleged that officials investigating the misappropriation were hushed up by “influence in the finance ministry” while his father, P.Chidambaram was the Finance Minister.
Following his arrest, he was placed in Police custody till 1st March which was extended till 12th March and thereafter he was sent to judicial custody. Delhi High Court granted him bail in the present case saying that his parents are senior lawyers and he has a family to take care of, so chances of him fleeing are bleak. High Court also observed that CBI during its course of investigation and period of custody did recover any strong, potent evidence from the accused. CBI aggrieved by this order appealed against this in the Supreme Court of India.
The decision of the Case
Division Bench of Justice A.K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan after listening to both the sides decided to not to interfere in the Delhi High Court order. The main contention of CBI was that no special or exceptional circumstances existed for High Court to have exercised its jurisdiction when the application for same was pending before the Special Judge, Patiala House Court. Therefore, the Delhi High Court has exceeded its jurisdiction in granting bail to the accused and same should be set aside. It was also submitted that High Court was wrong in conducting a detailed examination of the evidence on merits while granting bail, “seriously prejudicing” on the statement of witnesses.
Apex Court refused to interfere with the impugned order but did clarify that High Court observations should not influence any other proceedings. Moreover, Bench also said “However, we make it clear that the observation is made by the High Court in the impugned order keeping in mind as to whether the respondent was entitled to bail or not and such observation shall not influence any other proceedings and all other proceedings shall be dealt with on its own merit.”