Govt clears Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill

billNEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 in Parliament, on Thursday.

The Bill would help in laying down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

According to the release by the government, it stated that “The cases where the total value involved in such offences is Rs.100 crore or more, will come under the purview of this Bill.”

The Bill is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to the fugitive economic offenders as they would be forced to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences, the release said.

The basic purpose of the bill is to ensure quicker recovery of dues through a special court from the absconding corporate defaulters.

This will help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders, a release said.

Such economic offenders will be tried under the prevention of money laundering act, it said.

Salient features of the Bill:

i.       Application before the Special Court for a declaration that an individual is a fugitive economic offender;

ii.      Attachment of the property of a fugitive economic offender;

iii.     Issue of a notice by the Special Court to the individual alleged to be a fugitive economic offender;

iv.     Confiscation of the property of an individual declared as a fugitive economic offender resulting from the proceeds of crime;

v.      Confiscation of other  property belonging to such offender in India and abroad, including benami property;

vi.     Disentitlement of the fugitive economic offender from defending any civil claim; and

vii.   An Administrator will be appointed to manage and dispose of the confiscated property under the Act.

 Implementation strategy and targets:

In order to address the lacunae in the present laws and lay down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, the Bill is being proposed. The Bill makes provisions for a Court (‘Special Court’ under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002) to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender.

A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. A scheduled offence refers to a list of economic offences contained in the Schedule to this Bill. Further, in order to ensure that Courts are not over-burdened with such cases, only those cases where the total value involved in such offences is 100 crore rupees or more, is within the purview of this Bill.

 

 





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