Heard Learned Counsel for the Petitioner and Learned Standing Counsel for the Vigilance Department-Opp. Party Nos. 2 and 3. In this writ application, the Petitioner has sought for quashing of the impugned letters under Annexures-2 and 3 insofar as it relates to the Petitioner firm.
The brief fact of the case is that the Petitioner is a registered firm consisting of two partners namely Smt. Suchitra Agrawal and Smt. Sangeeta Agrawal under the name and style 'M/s. National Carbon Products' with cash credit facilities with Opp. Party No.1 and accordingly two cash credit accounts bearing No. 365205010000006 & 365201010033065 have been opened. It is stated that Opp. Party No. 2 by its letter dated 06.04.2010 directing freezing of the bank accounts of seven persons named therein, which includes both the partners of M/s. National Carbon Products on the ground that investigation is in progress in respect of a case registered under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and the request was made under Section 18 of the Act.
Pursuant to the same, Opp. Party No.1 prevented the Petitioner from operating both the accounts by letter dated 25.2.2013 intimating the request made by the State Vigilance Department by enclosing their letter dated 06.04.2010. The letter of the bank is found in Annexure-3 and Annexure-2 is the request letter made by Opp. Party No.2. It is also stated by the Learned Counsel for the Petitioner that final report has been filed against several accused persons and the partners of the Petitioner firm were not shown as accused in the charge sheet submitted, therefore, the accounts of the partnership firm cannot remain frozen by Opp. Party No.2 and, hence, they have sought for quashing of the same. Learned Standing Counsel for the Vigilance Department files and elaborate counter affidavit on behalf of Opp. Party Nos. 2 and 3. In paragraph No.4 of the said counter affidavit, it is admitted that Account No. 365205010000006 of the Petitioner partnership firm was frozen and the balance as on 06.04.2010 is Rs. 21,27,488. In para 5 of the counter affidavit, it is stated as follows:
'5. That in reply to the averments made in paragraph-7 to 9, the deponents submits that after completion of investigation, charge sheet No. 36 dated 27.06.2012 under Sec. 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) P.C.Act, 1988, Section 279/420/468/120-B IPC and Section 21 Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 against the accused persons (1) Sri Ramesh Chandra Mahalik, Mining Officer, Bolangir, (2) Sri Pravat Kumar Ojha, ExMining Officer, Bolangir, (3) Sri Chitta Ranjan Sahoo, Ex-Mining Officer, Bolangir, (4) Sri Baidhar Naik, Ex-Sr. Inspector Mines, Patnagarh, (5) Sri Saroj Kumar Ghosh after obtaining due sanction of prosecution and against (6) Sri Rajkumar Agarwal, Mines Lease Holder and (7) Sri Subha Narayan Senapati, Mines Manager to stand their trial in the competent Court of law.
Investigation also revealed that the accused Sri Rajkumar Agarwal Mining Lease holder of Champasar & Bharatbahal Manganese Ore Mines is having individual business under the firm M/s. Maa Jagadamba Bhabani Minerals dealing with the minerals of the above noted Manganese Ore mines. The firm namely M/s. National Carbon Products is a partnership firm of the Petitioner Smt. Suchitra Agarwal, W/o. Sri Natwarlal Agrawal, and Smt. Sangeeta Agarwal, W/o. Rajkumar Agarwal (accused). As the investigation was in progress and one of the partner namely Smt. Sangeeta Agarwal is the wife of Sri Raj Kumar Agarwal who is the accused of this case, no further intimation was made to the Bank authority for taking any further action at this end.
The Learned Standing Counsel for the Vigilance Department submits that the final report has been accepted and cognizance has been taken and the case is pending trial. It is not in dispute that Smt. Suchitra Agrawal and Smt. Sangeeta Agrawal, who are the partners of the Petitioner firm namely M/s. National Carbon Product are not named as accused in the criminal case which is pending trial. It is also not the case of the Opp. Party No.2 that the balance outstanding in the frozen account bearing No. 365205010000006 was the case property. It is relevant to point out that the said amount has also not been seized during investigation of the case by the I.O. concerned and the said accounts are cash credit loan accounts and the balance outstanding therein is the amount payable by the Petitioner firm to the bank and not a credit balance. It is also relevant to point out that insofar as cash credit account No. 365201010033065 of the Petitioner is concerned, it is stated in the counter affidavit that information regarding the said account was never received from the concerned bank by the I.O. concerned.
In such circumstances, it is not known as to how the Opp. Part
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y No.1-Bank has intimated the Petitioner under Annexure-3 that the said account was frozen pursuant to the request made by the I.O. concerned. However, the request for freezing the account itself is held to be unlawful, hence, the Petitioner is entitled for the prayer sought for. Accordingly, the Writ Petition is allowed. In the result we quash Annexure-3 and Annexure-2 insofar as the two bank accounts mentioned hereinabove. Urgent certified copy of this order be granted on proper application. Petition allowed.