The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has ruled that police are not empowered to attach properties of those booked under Tamil Nadu protection of Interests of Depositors (TANPID)(In Financial Establishments) Act 1997 for allegedly cheating gullible investors.

Justice P R Shivakumar, disposing of a petition filed by a man booked under the act, said only the Government or the special courts constituted under TANPID act could attach the properties.

Petitioner K S Palanichamy challenged the January 2 Special Court order, refusing to hand over interim custody of his car seized by the Dindigul Economic Offences Wing police under Code of Criminal procedure Sec 102 (Power of Police to seize property).

The special court had rejected his plea as the government had ordered it to be confiscated despite there being no such order.

The judge wondered how the special judge had chosen to make an observation that the property was ordered to be confiscated by the government as a reason to dismiss the petition and said it was purely his imagination.

It was obnoxious for the special court to have rejected the prayer for interim custody of the vehicle and had dismissed the petition with a closed mind and predetermination, he said.

The special court could have attached the car,but did not order attachment by exercising powers conferred by TANPID act.

Hence refusal to handover in interim custody was bad in law.

The Judge permitted the Petitioner to take interim custody of the car after surrendering the registration certificate of the vehicle. He was asked to execute a Rs 1 lakh bond, besides undertaking not to alienate the property.

(This article was published on March 18, 2012)
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