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Section 17 Prevention of Money-laundering Act 2002: Search & Seizure

Section 17 (Search and seizure) under Chapter V (Summons, Searches and Seizures, etc) of the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 —

❝(1) Where the Director or any other officer not below the rank of Deputy Director authorised by him for the purposes of this section, on the basis of information in his possession, has reason to believe (the reason for such belief to be recorded in writing) that any person—

 (i) has committed any act which constitutes money-laundering, or
 (ii) is in possession of any proceeds of crime involved in money-laundering, or
 (iii) is in possession of any records relating to money-laundering, or
 (iv) is in possession of any property related to crime,

 then, subject to the rules made in this behalf, he may authorise any officer subordinate to him to—

 (a) enter and search any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft where he has reason to suspect that such records or proceeds of crime are kept;
 (b) break open the lock of any door, box, locker, safe, almirah or other receptacle for exercising the powers conferred by clause (a) where the keys thereof are not available;
 (c) seize any record or property found as a result of such search;
 (d) place marks of identification on such record or property, if required or make or cause to be made extracts or copies therefrom;
 (e) make a note or an inventory of such record or property;
 (f) examine on oath any person, who is found to be in possession or control of any record or property, in respect of all matters relevant for the purposes of any investigation under this Act:

 Provided that no search shall be conducted unless, in relation to the scheduled offence, a report has been forwarded to a Magistrate under section 157 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), or a complaint has been filed by a person, authorised to investigate the offence mentioned in the Schedule, before a Magistrate or court for taking cognizance of the scheduled offence, as the case may be, or in cases where such report is not required to be forwarded, a similar report of information received or otherwise has been submitted by an officer authorised to investigate a scheduled offence to an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India or equivalent being head of the office or Ministry or Department or Unit, as the case may be, or any other officer who may be authorised by the Central Government, by notification, for this purpose.

(1A) Where it is not practicable to seize such record or property, the officer authorised under sub-section (1), may make an order to freeze such property whereupon the property shall not be transferred or otherwise dealt with, except with the prior permission of the officer making such order, and a copy of such order shall be served on the person concerned:

 Provided that if, at any time before its confiscation under sub-section (5) or sub-section (7) of section 8 or section 58B or sub-section (2A) of section 60, it becomes practical to seize a frozen property, the officer authorised under sub-section (1) may seize such property.

(2) The authority, who has been authorised under sub-section (1) shall, immediately after search and seizure or upon issuance of a freezing order, forward a copy of the reasons so recorded along with material in his possession, referred to in that sub-section, to the Adjudicating Authority in a sealed envelope, in the manner, as may be prescribed and such Adjudicating Authority shall keep such reasons and material for such period, as may be prescribed.

(3) Where an authority, upon information obtained during survey under section 16, is satisfied that any evidence shall be or is likely to be concealed or tampered with, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, enter and search the building or place where such evidence is located and seize that evidence:

 Provided that no authorisation referred to in sub-section (1) shall be required for search under this sub-section.

(4) The authority seizing any record or property under sub-section (1) or freezing any record or property under sub-section (1A) shall, within a period of thirty days from such seizure or freezing, as the case may be, file an application, requesting for retention of such record or property seized under sub-section (1) or for continuation of the order of freezing served under sub-section (1A), before the Adjudicating Authority.❞



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Notes:

The Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (Act No. 15 of 2003) was amended by:

1. Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2005 (No. 20 of 2005) (w.e.f. 01-7-2005);
2. Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2009 (No. 21 of 2009) (w.e.f. 01-6-2009);
3. Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2012 (No. 02 of 2013) (w.e.f. 15-2-2013);
4. Finance Act, 2015 (No. 20 of 2015) (w.e.f. 14-5-2015);
5. Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 (No. 22 of 2015) (w.e.f. 1-4-2016);
6. Finance Act, 2016 (No. 28 of 2016) (w.e.f. 01-6-2016);
7. Finance Act, 2018 (No. 13 of 2018) (w.e.f. 19-4-2018);
8. Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018 (No. 16 of 2018) (w.e.f. 26-7-2018).

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