Arun Jaitley also announced the formation of the National Financial Reporting Authority or NFRA.
New Delhi: A proposed law to help choke fugitives involved in major economic offences has been cleared by the government, amid investigations into a massive bank scam involving jewellery billionaires who have left the country. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill will help the government seize properties of those involved in fraud worth more than Rs 100 crore, said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. "The law will be passed as soon as possible as we can't allow people to make a mockery of the law... first indulge in loot, then refuse to submit to the jurisdiction of the country," Mr Jaitley told reporters after a cabinet meeting this evening.
Here is your 10-point guide to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill:
- The government says the law will help deter economic offenders from evading justice by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
- The property of the offender will be seized in India and abroad, including those that are proxy-owned.
- The law defines a fugitive economic offender as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution and refuses to return.
- The law is expected to help the government rein in alleged economic offenders like Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi and liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who skipped the country after defaulting on loans that run into hundreds of crores.
- The government is now facing a time-consuming extradition process that is needed to bring the accused to book and recover the money.
- Under the proposed law, the accused will be given a chance to state their case, which will include an appeal in the high court.
- The proposed law is expected to help banks and other financial institutions achieve higher recovery from financial defaults.
- The government's move comes alongside an investigation into what is believed to be a Rs 12,000 crore swindle by jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who were able to get fake Punjab National Bank guarantees to enable them to score credit from banks overseas.
- Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi left the country in the first week of January, before investigators even filed the first case against them.
- The fugitive offenders' law is expected to force the accused to return to India to face trial
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