Parliamentary Committee Flags Delays In Extradition, Says Speed Up Process

The Income Tax department has made references to 3,225 cases to foreign countries seeking information about financial assets located in their territory. Responses have come in 2,085 cases.

Parliamentary Committee Flags Delays In Extradition, Says Speed Up Process

Extradition arrangement should be made with nations where none exists, the committee suggested.

New Delhi:

A Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs has submitted its report where it has expressed concern "with the delays in extradition of fugitives" and said the "process should be expedited in each case". Extradition arrangement should be made with nations where none exists, the committee, headed by BJP leader PP Chaudhary, has also suggested.

"Taking advantage of the absence of extradition treaties the offenders are taking refuge in the countries having provisions for citizenship by investment programmes or favourable residency or passport regimes through investment routes," the report read.

Though the overall number of pending extradition requests has not been divulged, the Enforcement Directorate has told the committee that they started extradition requests from 2017.

Till 2020, extradition proceedings have been initiated against 21 economic offenders, of whom only two have been extradited.

Regarding the delay in extradition of economic offenders, the finance ministry has cited two issues. Extradition treaties exist with just "43 countries and the reciprocal arrangement with 11 countries", the ministry has said. The other issue is a foreign ministry circular, which states "extradition request (can be made) only in the cases where prosecution complaint has been filed".

The Finance Ministry has sought amendment to the foreign ministry Circular that will do away with the necessity of prosecution complaints.

The foreign ministry has told the committee: "...prima facie material to satisfy the requested State that fugitive is involved in an offence. This is an interpretation given by the Delhi HC with regard to extradition request by the UK. So, UK was successful in getting an extradition process without filing the prosecution complaint. But when it comes to India, there is a requirement to file a prosecution complaint."

Agencies have also submitted before the committee that under the Black Money Act which came into force in 2015, 439 cases have been initiated involving Rs 13,900 crore as of 2020. In 96 cases, prosecution has been launched.

The Income Tax department has made references to 3,225 cases to foreign countries seeking information about financial assets located in their territory. Responses have come in 2,085 cases.

Under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, attachment orders have been passed in around 2,400 benami properties worth Rs 13,300 crore as of June 2020.

Under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act passed in 2018, 11 cases have been initiated by ED as of 2020.

The committee consists of 28 members including P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Abhishek Banerjee and Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

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