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'Mere Speculation Not Enough to Deny Chidambaram Bail': SC Tears Into CBI's Objections in INX Media Case

The court further held that there is no evidence with the CBI to show that Chidambaram tried to influence any witness in the case and that the agency had raised this argument belatedly.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:October 22, 2019, 4:17 PM IST
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'Mere Speculation Not Enough to Deny Chidambaram Bail': SC Tears Into CBI's Objections in INX Media Case
Illustration by Mir Suhail. (News18)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday tore into the CBI's objections to giving bail to P Chidambaram in the INX Media case and held that the former Union minister can't be said to be a flight-risk.

It further held that there is no evidence with the CBI to show that Chidambaram tried to influence any witness in the case and that the agency had raised this argument belatedly.

A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi noted that Chidambaram was on anticipatory bail for over a year till he was arrested by the CBI in August and he cannot suddenly become a flight-risk who might run away.

The Court rejected the argument by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented CBI, about the fact that there have been many instances of economic offenders who fled India and never came back.

"We are unable to accept the contention of the learned Solicitor General that “flight risk” of economic offenders should be looked at as a national phenomenon and be dealt with in that manner merely because certain other offenders have flown out of the country," said the bench.

It added that nothing same can be put in a straight-jacket formula so as to deny bail to the one who is before the Court, due to the conduct of other offenders, if the person under consideration is otherwise entitled to bail on the merits of his own case.

About CBI's contention that Chidambaram had tried to influence witnesses, the top court noted that in as many as six remand applications, there was no whisper of the accusations that either Chidambaram or his son Karti approached any witnesses.

It noted that only at the time of opposing the bail and in the counter affidavit filed by the CBI before the Delhi High Court, this allegation was levelled.

"CBI has no direct evidence against the appellant regarding the allegation of appellant directly or indirectly influencing the witnesses. No material particulars were produced before the High Court as to when and how those two material witnesses were approached," underlined the bench, adding mere speculations or apprehensions can't be enough to deny bail to Chidambaram.

While granting bail, the Court also noted that the CBI has already filed its chargesheet in this case and that Chidambaram, at 74, also suffers from health-related issues.

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