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31. Power to enter, search and seize without warrant.-

(1) Whenever any police officer, not below the rank of an officer in-charge of a police station, has reason to believe that anything necessary for the purpose of an investigation into any offence under this Act may be found in any place within the limits of the police station of which he is in-charge, or to which he is attached, such officer may, with the written authorisation of an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, and after recording in writing so far as possible, the thing for which the search is to be made and subject to the rules made in this behalf, authorise any officer subordinate to him,-

(a) to enter and search any building, conveyance or place, between sunrise and sunset, which he has reason to suspect is being used for purposes connected with the promotion or conduct of any deposit taking scheme or arrangement in contravention of the provisions of this Act;

(b) in case of resistance, to break open any door and remove any obstacle to such entry, if necessary by force, with such assistance as he considers necessary, for exercising the powers conferred by clause (a);

(c) to seize any record or property found as a result of the search in the said building, conveyance or place, which are intended to be used, or reasonably suspected to have been used, in connection with any such deposit taking scheme or arrangement in contravention of the provisions of this Act; and

(d) to detain and search, and if he thinks proper, take into custody and produce before any Designated Court any such person whom he has reason to believe to have committed any offence punishable under this Act:

Provided that if such officer has reason to believe that the said written authorisation cannot be obtained without affording opportunity for the concealment of evidence or facility for the escape of an offender, he may, without the said written authorisation, enter and search such building, conveyance or place, at any time between sunset and sunrise after recording the grounds in writing.

(2) Where it is not practicable to seize the record or property, the officer authorised under subsection (1), may make an order in writing to freeze such property, account, deposits or valuable securities maintained by any deposit taker about which a complaint has been made or credible information has been received or a reasonable suspicion exists of their having been connected with the promotion or conduct of any deposit taking scheme or arrangement in contravention of the provisions of this Act and it shall be binding on the concerned bank or financial or market establishment to comply with the said order:

Provided that no bank or financial or market establishment shall freeze such account, deposit or valuable securities, for a period beyond thirty days unless the same is authorised by the order of the Designated Court: Provided further that, if at any time, it becomes practicable to seize the frozen property, the officer authorised under sub-section (1) may seize such property.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, the expressions,-

(i) "freezing of account" shall mean that no transaction, whether deposit or withdrawal shall be allowed in the said account; and

(ii) "freezing of property" shall mean that no transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property shall be allowed.

(3) Where an officer takes down any information in writing or records grounds for his belief or makes an order in writing under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), he shall, within a time of seventytwo hours send a copy thereof to the Designated Court in a sealed envelope and the owner or occupier of the building, conveyance or place shall, on application, be furnished, free of cost, with a copy of the same by the Designated Court.

(4) All searches, seizures and arrests under this section shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).



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