CHENNAI: Quashing a communication issued by a police officer attaching properties of a person facing charges of economic offence, the High Court made it clear that no police officer has the power to attach properties under any law of the land.
“The police officer, by couching the communication in a camouflaged language, is in fact indirectly attaching the properties of the accused via the backdoor, which is not permissible,” said Justice P N Prakash while hearing a petition moved by V Sundaram and Malliga who were charged with various sections of
IPC and Section 4 of Chit Funds Act (Prohibition of Chits not sanctioned under the Act) .
Sundram and Malliga were allegedly operating unregistered chits and had collected subscriptions of Rs 1.66 crore from 35 persons between December 2010 and May 2013. They had defaulted in making repayments.
Based on complaints from the subscribers, an FIR was registered and the final report was filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chengalpet. After filing the report, DSP (Economic offences wing), Kancheepuram, the investigating officer, sent a communication dated January 8, 2015 to the sub-registrar-IV, Kancheepuram.
In this, the official said, “In order to compensate the complainants, the properties of the accused is being attached through the court as per law, it will be affected within a short span of time.”
“...it is just and necessary to intimate you that if any encumbrance is made in the properties, it would affect the probe. Kindly cooperate to my investigation. In spite of this intimation if encumbrance is allowed it would affect the litigation unnecessarily,” the officer added.
Aggrieved by the communication, the accused had moved the High Court. When the matter came up for hearing, Justice P N Prakash made it clear that only the State or the Central government has the authority to attach properties of accused, that too by approaching the District Judge concerned.
“The police officer has no role to play in this. He can, at the most, submit a report to the government requesting action and he cannot arrogate to himself the power to issue such veiled threats to the sub-registrar,” the judge said.