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Section 18 Prevention of Money-laundering Act 2002: Search of persons

Section 18 (Search of persons) under Chapter V (Summons, Searches and Seizures, etc) of the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 —

❝(1) If an authority, authorised in this behalf by the Central Government by general or special order, has reason to believe (the reason for such belief to be recorded in writing) that any person has secreted about his person or in anything under his possession, ownership or control, any record or proceeds of crime which may be useful for or relevant to any proceedings under this Act, he may search that person and seize such record or property which may be useful for or relevant to any proceedings under this Act:

 Provided that no search of any person shall be made 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.

(2) The authority, who has been authorised under sub-section (1) shall, immediately after search and seizure, 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 is about to search any person, he shall, if such person so requires, take such person within twenty-four hours to the nearest Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or a Magistrate:

 Provided that the period of twenty-four hours shall exclude the time necessary for the journey undertaken to take such person to the nearest Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or Magistrate’s Court.

(4) If the requisition under sub-section (3) is made, the authority shall not detain the person for more than twenty-four hours prior to taking him before the Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or the Magistrate referred to in that sub-section:

 Provided that the period of twenty-four hours shall exclude the time necessary for the journey from the place of detention to the office of the Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or the Magistrate’s Court.

(5) The Gazetted Officer or the Magistrate before whom any such person is brought shall, if he sees no reasonable ground for search, forthwith discharge such person but otherwise shall direct that search be made.

(6) Before making the search under sub-section (1) or sub-section (5), the authority shall call upon two or more persons to attend and witness the search, and the search shall be made in the presence of such persons.

(7) The authority shall prepare a list of record or property seized in the course of the search and obtain the signatures of the witnesses on the list.

(8) No female shall be searched by any one except a female.

(9) The authority shall record the statement of the person searched under sub-section (1) or sub-section (5) in respect of the records or proceeds of crime found or seized in the course of the search:

(10) The authority, seizing any record or property under sub-section (1) shall, within a period of thirty days from such seizure, file an application requesting for retention of such record or property, 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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