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Pending cases: Seized cash puts cops in a fix

Move to exchange Rs 50 lakh backfires

SHILLONG: The police are in a dilemma over the exchange of seized money from militants and miscreants, which run into crores of rupees, as their cases are pending in various courts across the State.
Police fear that since the cases will be pending for a long time, the value of seized money in the demonetised currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 may lapse as they will cease to be legal tender.
Sources said that taking note of the situation, there was a query recently from the police headquarters to the East Khasi Hills superintendent of police on the need to exchange Rs 50 lakh seized in 2008 prior to the Assembly polls. The money that was probably meant to sponsor the candidates for the Assembly elections was seized from two individuals and a case was registered under Madanrting police station.
However, sources added that the opinion of a legal expert was that the money cannot be exchanged since it will lead to tampering of evidence as the case is yet to be disposed of by the court. The seized materials should be intact to prove the case, the expert said.
Moreover, if the cash is exchanged, this will weaken the case in favour of the accused as the court only wanted evidence without any tampering.
Sources added that there can be an option that once the case is disposed of, the court can give a direction to RBI to allow deposit of even the scrapped notes in the government account if it wins the case. While if the outcome of the case is in favour of the accused, he or she can deposit the cash in the bank accounts with the approval of the court.
However, questions are being raised as to why there is a sudden interest on the part of the police headquarters to refer only the cash seized under Madanrting police station for legal opinion on exchange.

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