BENGALURU: Observing that freezing of a bank account in the absence of strong suspicion of allegations made by the police adversely affects the right to life, the High Court on Wednesday directed the Banashankari police and IDBI Bank Ltd to de-freeze the account of badminton legend Prakash Padukone and his family members. But the court set a condition that Padukone submit a bond of `20 lakh before the sessions court judge.
Justice Raghvendra S Chauhan issued this directive before disposing of the petition filed by Prakash Padukone, his wife Ujjala Padukone and their daughter Anisha Padukone, seeking directions to the police and the bank to defreeze the account jointly held by them in IDBI Bank in Malleswaram in the city.
The account was frozen after police issued notice, dated March 16, to the bank on the ground that the badminton legend had got 'excess' money against what he invested in Vikram Investment Company.
"Unless and until there is a strong suspicion against the petitioners, the police would not be justified in freezing the account belonging to the petitioners. For, such freezing of account adversely affects the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India," the court said in the order.
The court further said that prima facie, there is no allegation made by the complainant P R Balaji against the petitioner. In fact, Balaji does not even name the petitioner in the complaint filed before the police. The alleged excess money of `19 lakh may belong to either Balaji or other investors. This court is of the opinion that unless and until there is a strong suspicion against the petitioner, freezing of account adversely affected the right to life, the court said.
Padukone's account was frozen by the Banashankari police following a complaint dated March 3, 2018 filed by one Balaji alleging that Vikram Investment Company promised to share their profit with him, provided he invested his money with the company. Initially the company shared profits, but from November 2017, they stopped, he alleged in the complaint.
140 accounts frozen, 4 arrested
Additional Advocate General A S Ponnanna argued that Vikram Investment Company collected money, saying that it will be invested in commodities like petroleum, gold, etc. Accordingly, Prakash Padukone received K40 lakh as against K21 lakh he invested. Actually, the company collected money but it did not invest. The collected money has gone into the accounts of various persons, including Padukone, he said.A total of ` K400 crore was invested by 1,500 persons and K350 crore repaid. Like Padukone, 500 investors have taken back more money than they invested. Therefore, total 140 accounts were frozen. “The company and its directors caused wrongful loss and as of now, four persons have been arrested,” Ponnanna said.