Ordinance lays down the measures to empower authorities to confiscate the proceeds of crime
- Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was mentioned in the budget speech
- Scheduled offences worth Rs 100 crore or more will come the law's purview
- Government authorities will have the power to seize the properties
As the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 gets the President's assent
, the new legislation gets promulgated, or comes into force. With the new law coming into force, Indian authorities are now empowered to attach and confiscate the proceeds of crime associated with economic offenders. The ordinance was mooted in response to the growing practice of debt-laden Indian citizens flying abroad in a purported attempt to evade the law-enforcement agencies of India. Something similar had happened in case of Nirav Modi
who fled India in January this year shortly before Rs 13,000 crore PNB fraud
came to light wherein he is one of the prime accused. Likewise, former liquor baron Vijay Mallya also fled the country
without repayment of the debt that amounts to nearly Rs 9,000 crore from a consortium of Indian banks.
The announcement of this legislation's idea was made in the Budget speech by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1. Following this, the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 12. The bill was even listed for consideration in Lok Sabha on many occasions after its introduction. However, since the Parliament has since been adjourned sine die, it couldn't be passed. Following this, the Union Cabinet, on April 21, decided to approve the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018.Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance: Five Things To Know
1. Threshold of Rs 100 Crore:
The ordinance makes provisions for a special court under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender. A fugitive economic offender is defined as an individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by a court in India, who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution; or being abroad, refuse to return to India to face criminal prosecution. Scheduled offences worth Rs 100 crore or more will come under the purview of the ordinance.
2. Power To Attach Properties:
With the assent of the President of India, Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018 is promulgated. The new Law lays down the measures to empower Indian authorities to attach and confiscate the proceeds of crime associated with economic offenders and properties of economic offenders.Also Read
: Government To Seize Assets Of Future Vijay Mallyas, Nirav Modis As Fugitives Ordinance Cleared
3. Trial In The PMLA Courts:
Since the proposed law would utilise the existing infrastructure of the Special Courts constituted under under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) and the threshold of scheduled offence is high at Rs 100 crores or more, no additional expenditure is expected on the enactment of the Bill.
4. No Immunity To Offenders
: The ordinance would also enable the courts and tribunals to disallow the fugitive economic offender from putting forward or defending any civil claim.
5. Aim Of Deportation
: Major impact will be that the offenders will return to India to submit to the jurisdiction of Courts in India to face the law in respect of the scheduled offences. Other Major Impact will be that it will help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders, improving the financial health of such institutions.