Is a law enough?



The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 may be ineffective if it doesn’t go beyond defining a fugitive economic offender and seizing his assets (“Assets of fugitive economic offenders will be seized”, March 2). First, separating the personal assets of an offender from his joint family assets will be a challenge. Defaulters are not naive to leave their ill-gotten assets lying about, waiting to be seized. Second, mere seizure of assets does not entail instant encashing and appropriation towards a defaulted loan. Given our tardy legal system, sale and realisation of confiscated assets is more easier said than done. Already in cases where banks have received court verdicts for disposal of assets, realisation by sale has been cumbersome. Also, a look at the huge stockpile of assets seized by law-enforcing agencies convinces one about the futility of confiscating assets. Confiscated assets depreciate in value. Last, there is no guarantee that parties who are otherwise innocent but have a bonafide title interest in the seized assets would forfeit their right of possession easily. Sentiments too play a role. It would be more prudent to work with the governments of those nations where the fugitives seek asylum and ensure that these fugitives are deported.

Sivamani Vasudevan,


These offenders anyway park their entire personal wealth abroad and leave only some here in relation to their dues. So, they will continue to enjoy their lives.

M. Balakrishnan,


This is a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. In almost all the scams involving public sector banks, the liability of the fugitives far exceeds the inflated collaterals pledged by them. There will be no tangible assets worth their name to seize, and banks have little leeway while initiating recovery proceedings against these fugitives. The best way to pre-empt their fleeing is to impound their passports once the case is red-flagged. The government needs to show the will for taking this bold action.

P.K. Varadarajan,


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:17:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/is-a-law-enough/article22912633.ece

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