Cabinet approves Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018

The cabinet approves the promulgation of an ordinance that will empower the govt to attach properties both within the country and overseas of fugitive economic offenders

Remya Nair
Updated21 Apr 2018
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 was tabled in the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded budget session of Parliament but could not be taken up after both the houses faced continuous disruptions. Photo: Mint
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 was tabled in the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded budget session of Parliament but could not be taken up after both the houses faced continuous disruptions. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The cabinet on Saturday approved the promulgation of an ordinance that will empower the government to attach properties both within the country and overseas of fugitive economic offenders.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 is expected to give Indian authorities more powers to bring to task economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, all of whom are not in India and have not returned to the country to face prosecution.

It will plug loopholes in existing laws as at present there is no mechanism to force these offenders to be a part of prosecution proceedings and follow the rule of law.

“The ordinance is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to the fugitive economic offenders as they would be forced to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences. This would also 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,” said a person familiar with the development.

However, only those cases where the amount involved is more than Rs100 crore will be covered under this ordinance.

Mint has reached out to the representatives of Mallya, Modi and Choksi seeking comments and is awaiting a response.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 was tabled in the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded budget session of Parliament but could not be taken up after both the houses faced continuous disruptions.

The ordinance empowers the government to confiscate all the assets of an offender both within and outside the country including properties that are not proceeds or profits of the crime. They can also confiscate benami properties and the offender will not be able to pursue any civil cases in India.

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