The Union Cabinet on Saturday approved the promulgation of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018, which would empower the government to seize the domestic assets of those deemed by a court to be fugitive economic offenders.
“The ordinance would lay down the measures to empower Indian authorities to attach and confiscate proceeds of crime associated with economic offenders and the properties of the economic offenders and thereby deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts,” the government said in a release.
To help recovery
“The ordinance is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to the fugitive economic offenders as they would be forced to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences,” the release added. “This would also help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders, improving the financial health of such institutions.”
The ordinance has a provision for a ‘Special Court’ under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender.
“A Fugitive Economic Offender is a 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,” the release said. “A scheduled offence refers to a list of economic offences contained in the Schedule to this ordinance.”
So as to ensure that the court is not over-burdened, only those cases where the total value involved in such offences is Rs. 100 crore or more will be within the purview of the ordinance.