Madras HC: While Issuing Summons, Police Have no Authority to Freeze Bank Accounts u/s 91 CrPC

Madras High court law insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: October 27, 2022 at 16:05 IST

Madras High Court recently held that police officer have no authority to freeze bank account while issuing summons under the Section 91 of CrPC. The provisions only give power to an investigating officer to summon a person to produce the document or other necessary things.

The sitting judge, Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan observed that:

“…it is clear that the first respondent (Inspector of Police, Cyber Crime) has no jurisdiction. In the summons issued under Section 91 of CrPC, the investigation officer summons the person to produce the document or other things. On the summons issued under Section 91 of CrPC, account cannot be freezed.”

The court also noted that, in violation of Section 102(3) CrPC, the respondent police had failed to inform the local magistrate about the account freezing.

Factual Matrix of the Case

The complainant was cheated by the anonymous person under the ploy of   An unknown individual defrauded the first complainant by promising him a part-time position at Flipkart. He was required to pay a total of Rs. 5,58,749 in instalments in exchange for the employment.

The petitioner was a cryptocurrency trader who traded on various exchanges. He received a purchase order for Rs. 89,000, and within 15 days, he released the demanded crytocurrency.

The respondent instructed the bank authorities to freeze the petitioner’s account, alleging that the fraudulently obtained funds were used to make the transaction and suspecting that he was involved in similar crimes.

The petitioner argued that he was not even a suspect in the primary crime and that it was only during the course of the investigation that the information on the bank transfer became known.

But after noting that the petitioner had acknowledged buying crypto currency for Rs. 89000, the court ordered the petitioner to deposit the money as a fixed deposit in the name of the crime no. Additionally, the court ordered the respondents to give the petitioner access to his bank accounts.

Case Title: Sahil Raj v State of Tamil Nadu and others

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