Unfreeze Prakash Padukone’s bank account: HC to police, bank

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the city police and IDBI Bank’s Malleshwaram branch to unfreeze the joint account belonging to former badminton player Prakash Padukone, his wife, and a daughter. The account was seized in connection with the ongoing probe into cheating by city-based wealth management firm Vikram Investments.

However, the court said unfreezing would be subject to Mr. Padukone furnishing a bond for ₹20 lakh before the jurisdictional court, where the police are filing probe reports pertaining to Vikram Investments.

Justice Raghvendra S. Chauhan passed the order while disposing of a petition filed by Mr. Padukone, his wife Ujjala, and daughter Anisha questioning the letter written by the Banashankari police to IDBI Bank for freezing their joint account.

The court observed that prima facie, there is no allegation against Mr. Padukone in the complaint and the action of the police cannot be justified unless and until there is a strong suspicion against him. Freezing of bank account affects the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution, the court said.

Earlier, it was contended on behalf of the police that Vikram Investments had paid approximately ₹41 lakh as against Mr. Padukone’s total investment ₹21 lakh, and payment of ₹19 lakh as profit was allegedly in “excess”. Of the approximate ₹400 crore invested by 1,500 persons, the firm had repaid ₹350 crore, and around 500 investors, including Mr. Padukone, have taken back money more than what they had invested. The police said that 140 accounts were frozen as the firm appears to have siphoned off investors’ money without investing in commodities, as per the business model.

However, the counsel for Mr. Padukone contended that there is no evidence, oral or documentary, to link Mr. Padukone with the offence allegedly committed by the firm. In response to claim of excess payment, Mr. Padukone’s counsel said the petitioner was prepared to give a bond for that amount.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:32:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/unfreeze-prakash-padukones-bank-account-hc-to-police-bank/article23437739.ece

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