Fri. Apr 19th, 2024
By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland (Arun Jaitley) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

India has seen a number of fugitive offenders from Vijay Mallya to Nirav Modi. In a new move to prevent these economic offenders from fleeing the country, the Union cabinet has okayed a new bill.

The bill allowing the government to seize the assets of these offenders was passed on 1st March 2018 known as the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017. It empowers the investigation agencies in the country to take hold of the property of offenders. This bill accompanies the setting up of the National Financing Reporting Authority to check audit reports of the country’s banks. A Fugitive Offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued with respect to a ‘scheduled offence’ and has left the country to avoid criminal prosecution and refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.┬áThe property seized under the bill will include benami assets as well.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that cases worth over 100 crore rupees will come under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill. For the bill to be effective an application must be given before a Special Court for a declaration that an individual is a fugitive economic offender and the attachment as well as the confiscation of his property resulting from proceeds of the crime as also his other property in India and abroad.

He said, “The bill will help in laying down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

This law is indeed a progressive step to control the activities of individuals behind these huge scams. Moreover, Nirav Modi has been snubbing the CBI saying that he has a ‘business’ to run in the U.S. and can’t return to India, a convenient escape route. Jaitley also assured that the government is working to build international cooperation on such cases.

By Sahitya