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Section 21 Prevention of Money-laundering Act'02: Retention of Records

Section 21 (Retention of records) under Chapter V (Summons, Searches and Seizures, etc) of the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 —

❝(1) Where any records have been seized, under section 17 or section 18 or frozen under sub-section (1A) of section 17 and the Investigating Officer or any other officer authorised by the Director in this behalf has reason to believe that any of such records are required to be retained for any inquiry under this Act, such records may if seized, be retained or if frozen, may continue to remain frozen, for a period not exceeding one hundred and eighty days from the day on which such records were seized or frozen, as the case may be.

(2) The person, from whom records seized or frozen, shall be entitled to obtain copies of records.

(3) On the expiry of the period specified under sub-section (1), the records shall be returned to the person from whom such records were seized or whose records were ordered to be frozen unless the Adjudicating Authority permits retention or continuation of freezing of such records beyond the said period.

(4) The Adjudicating Authority, before authorising the retention or continuation of freezing of such records beyond the period specified in sub-section (1), shall satisfy himself that the records are required for the purposes of adjudication under section 8.

(5) After passing of an order of confiscation or release under sub-section (5) or sub-section (6) or sub-section (7) of section 8 or section 58B or sub-section (2A) of section 60, the Adjudicating Authority shall direct the release of the records to the person from whom such records were seized.

(6) Where an order releasing the records has been made by the Court Adjudicating Authority under sub-section (5) of section 21, the Director or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf may withhold the release of any such record for a period of ninety days from the date of receipt of such order, if he is of the opinion that such record is relevant for the appeal proceedings under this Act.❞



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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