Fugitive Economic Offender Bill
KNOW ABOUT FUGITIVE ECONOMIC OFFENDERS BILL, 2018
Government is determined to catch law evaders and the proposed law “Fugitive Economic Offender Bill” is a perfect step in that direction.
History reveals that the fact that Fugitive economic offenders leave the country. It results in:
- It undermines rule of law in India
- Hampering investigation in criminal cases
- Wastage of precious times of courts of law
- Worsening financial health of the banking sector
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved a master law “Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018” in Parliament.
Let us know what the new law is:
Who is Fugitive economic offender:
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.
Applicability of Law:
Cases where total value involved in such offences is Rs. 100 crore or more will come under the purview of this bill.
Procedure to file the application:
Director or person authorised by director may make an application to Special Court.
Application must contain the following:
- Reasons for the belief that an individual is fugitive economic offender.
- Any information available as to the whereabouts of the fugitive economic offender.
- A list of properties or value of such properties believed to be the proceeds of crime, including such property outside India for which confiscation is sought.
- A list of properties owned by the person in India for which confiscation is sought.
- list of persons who may have interest in any of the properties.
Notice by Indian Court:
After application is filed, Special Court will issue notice to the individual alleged to be the fugitive economic offender. Notice must also be issued to the person who has interest in the properties mentioned above.
Notice will require individual to appear at a specified place and at specified time 6 weeks from date of notice and shall contain a declaration that in case of failure to appear, individual shall be declared as fugitive economic offender and confiscation of property.
Impact of the proposed Law:
The Bill is expected to force fugitive economic offenders to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences. It would also help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults.
Consequences of the Law:
- Attachment of property of a fugitive economic offender
- Confiscation of the property of an individual declared as a fugitive economic offender resulting from the proceeds of crime.
- Confiscation of other property belonging to such offender in India and abroad, including benami property
- Disentitlement of the fugitive economic offender from defending any civil claim.
Comparison with PMLA Act:
The question arises why this new Law? Whether PMLA is not sufficient for such cause?
- Under PMLA Act, only the proceeds of crime of such property that is involved in money laundering attract the provisions of attachment. However in FEO Bill, it allows authorities to also attach the personal properties owned by such offender.
- PMLA Act provides that all the properties attached shall vest with central government. An administrator is responsible for proper maintenance and custody of such properties. However FEO Bill provides for disposal of all such properties by administrator to satisfy the claims of the creditors.
Fugitive Economic Offender Bill
Name: CA Purvi Shah
Author is a Chartered Accountant.
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