The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 2013
17. Search and seizure.
1. Where the Authority, in consequence of information in its possession, has reason to believe that–
a. any person who has been required under sub-section (3) of section 16 to produce, or cause to be produced, any books, accounts or other documents in his custody or power has omitted or failed to produce, or cause to be produced, such books, accounts or other documents; or
b. any person to whom a requisition to produce any books, accounts or other documents as aforesaid has been or might be issued will not, or would not, produce or cause to be produced, any books, accounts or other documents which will be useful for, or relevant to, an investigation under sub-section (1) of section 16; or (c) a contravention of any provision of this Act has been committed or is likely to be committed by an intermediary; or
c. any claim which is due to be settled by the intermediary, has been or is likely to be rejected or settled at a figure higher than a reasonable amount; or
d. any claim which is due to be settled by an intermediary, has been or is likely to be rejected or settled at a figure lower than a reasonable amount; or
e. any illegal fees and charges have been transacted or are likely to be transacted by an intermediary; or
f. any books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, survey reports or other documents, belonging to an intermediary are likely to be tampered with, falsified or manufactured, it may authorise any officer of the Authority, not below the rank equivalent to that of a Gazetted Officer of the Government (hereafter referred to as the authorised officer), to–
i. enter and search any building or place where he has reason to suspect that such books, accounts or other documents, or any books or papers relating to any claim, rebate or commission or any receipts, vouchers, reports or other documents are kept;
ii. break open the lock of any box, locker, safe, almirah or other receptacle for exercising the powers conferred by clause (i) where the keys thereof are not available;
iii. seize all or any such books, accounts or other documents, found as a result of such search;
iv. place marks of identification on such books, accounts or other documents or make or cause to be made extracts or copies there from.
2. The authorised officer may requisition the services of any police officer or of any officer of the Central Government, or of both, to assist him for all or any of the purposes specified in sub-section (1) and it shall be the duty of every such police officer or officer to comply with such requisition.
3. The authorised officer may, where it is not practicable to seize any such book, account or other document, specified in sub-section (1), serve an order on the person who is in immediate possession or control thereof that he shall not remove, part with or otherwise deal with it except with the previous permission of such officer and such officer may take such steps as may be necessary for ensuring compliance with this sub-section.
4. The authorised officer may, during the course of the search or seizure, examine on oath any person who is found to be in possession or control of any books, accounts or other documents, and any statement made by such person during such examination may thereafter be used in evidence in any proceeding under this Act.
5. The books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents seized under sub-section (1) shall not be retained by the authorised officer for a period exceeding one hundred and eighty days from the date of the seizure unless the reasons for retaining the same are recorded by him in writing and the approval of the Authority for such retention is obtained:
Provided that the Authority shall not authorise the retention of the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents for a period exceeding thirty days after all the proceedings under this Act, for which the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents are relevant, are completed.
6. The person from whose custody the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents are seized under sub-section (1) may make copies thereof, or take extracts there from, in the presence of the authorised officer or any other person empowered by him in this behalf at such place and time as the authorised officer may appoint in this behalf.
7. If a person legally entitled to the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports or other documents seized under sub-section (1) objects for any reason to the approval given by the Authority under sub-section (5), he may make an application to the Central Government stating therein the reason for such objection and requesting for the return of the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, report or other documents.
8. On receipt of the application under sub-section (7), the Central Government may, after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, pass such order as it thinks fit.
9. The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 relating to searches and seizures shall apply, so far as may be, to every search and seizure made under sub-section (1).
10. The Central Government may, by notification, make rules in relation to any search or seizure under this section and in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for the procedure to be followed by the authorised officer,–
i. for obtaining ingress into such building or place to be searched where free ingress thereto is not available;
ii. for ensuring safe custody of any books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents seized under this section.