Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill seeks to impound, sell assets of fraudsters

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill seeks to impound, sell assets of fraudsters

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 aims to impound and sell assets of fugitives such as Nirav Modi, who is alleged to be behind the almost Rs 12,700 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank.

All cases under the proposed law will be tried under the PMLA Act and the administrator will sell the fugitive's properties to pay off the lenders.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 will be applicable for all offences where the monetary value exceeds Rs100 crore.

As per the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill, there have been several instances of economic offenders fleeing the jurisdiction of Indian courts anticipating the commencement of criminal proceedings or sometimes during the pendency of such proceedings.

The proposed law will have an overriding effect over all other pieces of legislation.

It is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to the fugitive economic offenders as they will be forced to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences.

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He felt the Bill, when enacted, had the potential to be misused as it provides for the presumption of "guilty until proven innocent" for an accused.

It may be recalled that the Union Cabinet had earlier this month given its nod for the Bill.

The bill says the "provision of the Act shall apply to any individual who is, or becomes a fugitive economic offender on or after the date of coming into force of this Act".

Bill, 2018 is based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and the Advisory Groups on Chit Funds set up by the central government.

A Bill to streamline and strengthen the chit fund sector was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday which mandates video conferencing while the opening of bids and seeks to hike commission of foremen from 5% to 7%. BJD Member Bhartruhari Mahtab opposed the introduction of the Bill, saying it goes against theFundamental right of the people and it can also be misused.

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