ISS SDB Security Services Private Limited in March had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against an order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Fazilka, who had directed the police to release Rs 43 lakh of seized currency to the claimants. The money, stolen from one of the ATMs managed by the private security agency, had been with the police before demonetisation. Taking note of the larger issue at hand, the High Court issued notices to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh seeking a response that “whether any instructions have been issued or policy has been framed with regard to the cash lying in the malkhana of various police stations as case property in various cases”.
The Chandigarh Administration in its response told the High Court that it was facing a difficulty in depositing the money with the Reserve Bank of India as the old currency is not being accepted by the institution. The court in the March 23 order said the police agencies in the states and Chandigarh must take necessary steps required to protect the interest of people.
“In order to safeguard the interest of general public, it is ordered that in the event of any order of return of currency or valuable to any person concerned, he will be made payment in new currency and not in old currency, which was recovered. It will be responsibility of the states of Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the public while returning the seized currency as per order of the court/competent authority,” the High Court said.
The order was later stayed by the Supreme Court when the Chandigarh Police filed a Special Leave Petition against it.