The original complainant, a job seeker was cheated by an anonymous person through a social media platform when he was offered a part-time job in a popular e-commerce platform. The anonymous person shared him a link to open a bank account and instructed the original complainant to pay in installments a sum of INR 5,58,749/-. The Petitioner in the case before the Hon’ble Madras High Court was trading in cryptocurrency. He received an order of purchase worth INR 89,000/- and he released the said crypto currency within 15 days. Alleging that Petitioner fraudulently collected money and believing that he was engaged in similar crimes similar to the aforesaid anonymous person, the Police directed the bank authorities to freeze the Petitioner’s account u/s 91 of CrPC. Accordingly the Bank authorities froze the bank account of the Petitioner.
Section 91 of CrPC is reproduced below for reference:-
91. Summons to produce document or other thing.
(1) Whenever any Court or any officer in charge of a police station considers that the production of any document or other thing is necessary or desirable for the purposes of any investigation, inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code by or before such Court or officer, such Court may issue a summons, or such officer a written order, to the person in whose possession or power such document or thing is believed to be, requiring him to attend and produce it, or to produce it, at the time and place stated in the summons or order.
(2) Any person required under this section merely to produce a document or other thing shall be deemed to have complied with the requisition if he causes such document or thing to be produced instead of attending personally to produce the same.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed--
(a) to affect sections 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872), or the Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891 (13 of 1891), or
(b) to apply to a letter, postcard, telegram or other document or any parcel or thing in the custody of the postal or telegraph authority.
The High Court observed thus:
“ …Thus, it is clear that the first respondent (inspector of Police, Cyber Crime) has no jurisdiction. In the summons issued under Section 91 of Cr.PC, investigation officer summons the person to produce the document or other things. On the summons issued under Section 91 Cr.PC., account cannot be freezed…” The High Court further observed that in the instant case, the Police had failed to inform the jurisdictional Magistrate about the freezing of account as required under Sub Section (3) of Section 102 CrPC.