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Piyush Goyal moves fugitive economic offenders bill in Lok Sabha

The bill will replace the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance which was promulgated by the President in April

india Updated: Jul 18, 2018 20:28 IST
Lok Sabha,fugitive economic offenders bill,Piyush Goyal
Piyush Goyal briefs the media after a cabinet meeting, in New Delhi on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (PTI File Photo)

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday moved the fugitive economic offenders bill in Lok Sabha to give authorities power to attach and confiscate the proceeds of crime and properties of fraudsters and loan defaulters who flee the country.

The bill will replace the which was promulgated by the President in April.

“This is the first time in the last 70 years after independence that such a strict measure has been taken against the fugitive economic offenders,” Goyal said while moving the bill.

The bill provides for measures to deter fugitives from evading the law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

It was moved amid objections by the Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and RSP member NK Premachandran.

Goyal said there is a provision in the bill that the economic offenders who flee from the country would be brought back, prosecuted and their properties would be confiscated.

It seeks to quickly recover losses to the exchequer or public sector banks (PSBs) in cases of frauds like the USD 2 billion fraud carried out allegedly by fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi.

The government had earlier said that the absence of such offenders from Indian courts hampers investigation and undermines the rule of law.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley had, in his Budget for 2018-19, said the government was considering to bring a new law to confiscate the assets of such absconders.

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on March 12, but couldn’t be taken up due to logjam in the Parliament over different issues and hence the President to promulgated the Ordinance.

Among other things, the Bill makes a provision for Special Court under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender.

However, only cases of frauds, cheque dishonour or loan default of over Rs 200 crore would come under the new law.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 20:26 IST