Centre approves Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 12 but could not be passed due to logjam in the Parliament over various issues.

PTI
New Delhi, Publish Date: Apr 21 2018 10:31PM | Updated Date: Apr 21 2018 10:31PM
Centre approves Fugitive Economic Offenders OrdinanceFile Photo

The union cabinet Saturday approved a proposal to promulgate Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 that provides for confiscating properties and assets of economic offenders like loan defaulters who flee the country, sources said.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 12 but could not be passed due to logjam in the Parliament over various issues. 

It seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders - like Nirav Modi- who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution.

The ordinance was approved at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the sources said. It will come into effect after the assent of the President.

The provisions of the ordinance will apply for economic offenders who refuse to return, persons against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for a scheduled offence as well as wilful bank loan defaulters with outstanding of over Rs 100 crore.

It provides for confiscating assets even without conviction and paying off lenders by selling off the fugitive's properties.

Such economic offenders will be tried under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ordinance defines a fugitive economic offender as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing offence like counterfeiting government stamps or currency, cheque dishonour for insufficiency of funds, money laundering, and transactions defrauding creditors.

A fugitive economic offender is one who has left the country to avoid facing prosecution, or refuses to return to face prosecution.

According to the ordinance, a director or deputy director (appointed under the PMLA, 2002) may file an application before a special court (designated under the 2002 Act) to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender.