Influence and Flight Risk: Supreme Court Ruling on INX Media Case

The Supreme Court of India has delivered a significant judgment in the case involving INX Media, highlighting the intricacies of evaluating flight risk and witness influence. The ruling follows a series of legal proceedings involving the appellant and the investigating agencies. Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision on this high-profile case.


  • The High Court refused to grant bail to the appellant in the case registered by the CBI.
  • Three contentions were raised by the CBI: flight risk, tampering with evidence, and influencing witnesses.
  • The case is registered under various sections of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • The alleged irregularities involve INX Media receiving foreign investment in violation of approved limits.
  • INX Media made downstream investments without specific approval and generated more FDI than approved.
  • INX Media, along with Karti Chidambaram and the appellant, is accused of criminal conspiracy to avoid penal provisions.
  • Investigations by the Income Tax Department and FIPB revealed justifications provided by INX Media.
  • The Enforcement Directorate also registered a case related to these irregularities.
  • The appellant filed for anticipatory bail apprehending arrest.
  • High Court granted interim protection to the appellant on 31.05.2018.
  • Flight risk and tampering with evidence objections were not accepted by the Single Judge.
  • High Court expressed concern about the possibility of the appellant influencing witnesses due to the advanced stage of the investigation.
  • Interim protection continued until 20.08.2019.
  • High Court dismissed the application for anticipatory bail on 20.08.2019.
  • Appellant filed SLP(Crl.) No.7525 of 2019 in the Supreme Court on 21.08.2019 challenging the order.

Also Read: High Court Acquittal Case of State of Uttar Pradesh v. Jai Prakash


  • The appellant challenged the denial of bail based on the court’s apprehension of influencing witnesses.
  • Allegations of influencing witnesses were supported by material, indicating a serious danger of influence.
  • The appellant’s actions, like consulting lawyers for SLP filing, discredit the idea of abscondence.
  • In the High Court, the appellant’s arguments were limited to demonstrating the unfounded nature of the allegations against him.
  • The High Court’s refusal of bail was criticized for prematurely assessing the merits of the case before trial.
  • The appellant’s surrender attempts after denial of anticipatory bail were objected to by the Enforcement Directorate.
  • The Solicitor General argued for considerations of flight risk and influencing witnesses to deny bail.
  • The High Court’s decision to decline bail was based on the reasoning related to both flight risk and witness influence.
  • The necessity of bail over jail, as a rule, was emphasized by the defense counsel.
  • The defense countered by claiming lack of supporting material on the appellant’s potential to influence witnesses.
  • The appellant’s urgency in seeking Supreme Court hearing after bail denial was highlighted.
  • Appellant’s strong financial resources were speculated to enable absconding from the country.
  • CBI had substantial evidence pointing to witness influence and vulnerability, justifying bail denial.
  • The learned Solicitor General argued that the appellant and his son have been charged under Section 3 of the law.
  • The findings by the Single Judge were deemed to be prima facie and not touching upon the merits of the case.
  • It was contended that reasons for granting or refusing bail must be expressed for transparency and understanding.
  • The potential flight risk of the appellant was raised as a reason to refuse bail.
  • Recording of reasons for bail decisions was emphasized for the rights of the accused, prosecution, and victim.

Also Read: Judgment Review: Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Capital Punishment Appeal


  • The court emphasized that each case must be considered on its own facts and circumstances, without attributing motives to the investigating agencies’ timing of actions.
  • The charge sheet was filed against the appellant on 18.10.2019, and a statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C. was recorded from witness ‘X’ on 15.03.2018.
  • The High Court’s conclusion that the petitioner might influence witnesses was considered speculative as it lacked substantiated materials.
  • The need for providing reasons when granting bail, especially for serious offenses, was highlighted to ensure the application of mind.
  • The court determined that the witnesses approached in the case were not easily influenced rustic individuals.
  • Absence of direct allegations or evidence of witness influence by the appellant was noted up to the current date.
  • The court refuted the argument of the appellant posing a flight risk, especially with surrendered passport and lookout notice in place.
  • The court stressed the importance of individual assessments for flight risk rather than grouping based on general trends.
  • The High Court’s focus on the case’s merits rather than established principles for bail grant or refusal was critiqued.
  • Factors like tampering with evidence and the severity of punishment upon conviction were pointed out as crucial when considering bail.
  • Direct evidence of witness tampering by the appellant was stated to be lacking in the CBI’s submissions.
  • Detailed examination of evidence at the bail stage, which could prejudice the accused, was advised against to maintain fairness.
  • Lack of proof of the appellant’s attempts to influence material witnesses was highlighted through the absence of substantial evidence in remand applications.
  • The High Court held in favor of the appellant by determining that he is not a flight risk.
  • The High Court suggested precautions such as surrendering his passport and issuing a lookout notice to prevent any risk of flight.
  • The High Court acknowledged the potential for the appellant to influence witnesses due to his former positions of power and influence.
  • Evidence suggests that material witnesses were approached not to disclose information regarding the appellant and his co-accused son.
  • The appellant, a former Finance Minister, Home Minister, and current Member of Parliament, has a respected position within the legal community.
  • The High Court emphasized that at the bail stage, a detailed examination of evidence and extensive documentation of case merits should be avoided.
  • The appellant is entitled to be granted bail based on the factors considered
  • The circumstances of the case support the decision to grant bail
  • Taking into account the facts presented, bail is justified for the appellant

Also Read: Contract Termination and Equipment Forfeiture: Supreme Court’s Ruling


  • The appellant must be available for interrogation as and when required
  • The appellant can be released on bail if not involved in any other case
  • Appellant must execute bail bonds of Rs.1,00,000/- with two sureties of like sum
  • If passport is not already deposited, it must be deposited with the Special Court
  • Appellant cannot leave the country without the leave of the Special Court
  • The impugned judgment by the High Court of Delhi is set aside
  • The appeal arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.9269 of 2019 is allowed
  • The appellant has been in custody for about two months since 21.08.2019


Case Number: Crl.A. No.-001603-001603 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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