New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley briefed the press on the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that was passed by the Cabinet today. The Bill provides for confiscating assets without conviction in cases where economic offenders flee the country. The bill is aimed at deterring economic offenders like celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi from fleeing the country or not returning to face trial. It provides for confiscating assets even without conviction and paying off lenders by selling off the fugitive's properties. The move will allow quicker recovery of dues through a special court from absconding corporate defaulters.
Here are the highlights:
- In the last budget, there was an announcement that the government bring law to confiscate assets of fugitives under economic offenses. That has been approved by cabinet today.
- The bill will define what is a fugitive offender - one who is mentioned in the schedule of the bill or there is a warrant against them issued by a court.
- The offenses will include cases above Rs 100 crore. Being declared a fugitive offender will have many consequences - confiscation of all assets in India.
- Assets overseas will also be liable for confiscation but it will depend on cooperation of those countries
- The person will not be able to pursue any civil claim in the country
- This act provides for constituting a national financial reporting authority (NAFRA). This authority will have it specified on which cases it can act under the rules.
- Under first instance, all listed companies and unlisted large companies will be covered under NAFRA. Any companies below will still be under institute of chartered accountants.