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Properties of fugitive economic offenders to be confiscated

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, April 21 - In a bid to bring back defaulters of huge bank loans who escape to refuges abroad, the Union Cabinet today approved an ordinance that would provide for attachment and confiscation of properties of the economic offenders.

The decision to issue The Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018 was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which comes in the wake of the recent multi-crore-rupee Punjab National Bank fraud case, in which the main accused diamond trader Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi fled the country after duping the bank to the tune of over Rs 30,000 crore.

Some other similar offenders, including businessman Vijay Mallya, who headed the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, also escaped to London a few years after running up huge debts to consortiums of banks.

Sources said the ordinance aims at deterring economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

Under the ordinance, a special forum would be created for expeditious confiscation of the proceeds of crime, in India or abroad, that would coerce the fugitive to return to India to submit to the jurisdiction of courts in India to face the law in respect of scheduled offences.

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 described as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

A scheduled offence refers to a list of economic offences contained in the schedule to this ordinance. Further, in order to ensure that courts are not over-burdened with such cases, only those cases where the total value involved in such offences is Rs 100 crore or more, is within the purview of this ordinance. � IANS

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