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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,

Chennai

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,

Bengaluru

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,

Chennai

Different kinds of rule

It is true that China’s economic development is without any comparison (“Mapping the Chinese century”, March 2). However, this is an autocratic nation where there has been a crackdown on civil liberties and where there is great inequality. The question then is, how long can the present Communist leadership survive and how long can President Xi Jinping maintain his position as the supreme leader? How long can an economy based on the export of consumer durables of inferior quality withstand the pulls and pushes of a hostile international situation? India has always been a democracy and has built its polity on strong foundations. It should select its own path to development rather than follow the Chinese model.

Suresh Rangarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

And now Russia

In his State of the Union address in January, U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to modernise U.S. nuclear arsenal. Now, Russia has unveiled its range of “invincible nuclear weapons” (“Putin unveils new nuclear weapons”, March 2). Then there’s North Korea, which is openly defying United Nations Security Council resolutions by repeatedly launching missiles. There is also a thriving nuclear black market in parts of Ukraine. All this shows that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is almost dead. The UN should check this worrying trend now.

R. Sridhar,

Bengaluru

Mr. Putin’s declaration that any nuclear attack on Russia’s allies will be viewed as attack on Russia has remnants of the rivalry between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces. One wonders what has changed since then.

Vyom Bharadvaj,

Mohali

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:34:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor/article22911047.ece

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