New Delhi: Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla introduced the Fugitive Economic Offender Bill 2017 presented in Lok Sabha on Monday.
The proposed fugitive law aims to impound and sell assets of Nirav Modi-type escapees with a view to quickly recover dues. It also will apply to defaulters who have an outstanding of Rs 100 crore or more and have escaped from the country.
In a bid to tighten noose around fugitives like diamond merchant Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, the Cabinet this month approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that provides for confiscating all assets of absconding fraudsters and loan defaulters to recover dues.
The Union chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved setting up of a National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) as an independent regulator for the auditors.
The new law is different from the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which also provides for confiscation of assets of economic offenders, he said.
Under PMLA, only profit of crime is confiscated and that too upon conviction. The new law extends to all assets irrespective of whether it is acquired as a result of crime or not, he said. “This is triggered by the offender being a fugitive“.
The Bill has been proposed to address the lacunae in the present laws and lay down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
The law, though it was announced in the Budget for 2017-18, has been hastened after Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi allegedly defrauded state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of Rs 12,700 crore and left the country and are refusing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies.