Centre tables bill to impound, sell assets of absconding fraudsters

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New Delhi: The government today tabled a bill that seeks to confiscate all the assets of absconding fraudsters and loan defaulters for recovering dues from them.

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 nearly Rs 12,700 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank.

The law will apply to defaulters who have an outstanding of Rs 100 crore or more and have escaped from the country.

The Bill tabled in the Lok Sabha provides for “measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, to preserve the sanctity of the rule of law in India and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.

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.

As per the proposed Bill, the fugitive economic offender is defined as an individual who has committed a scheduled offence involving Rs 100 crore or above and absconded from India or refused to come back to avoid or face criminal prosecution.

In such cases, the law proposes to enable authorities to attach the property of fugitive economic offenders and proceeds of crime, and place the burden of proof for establishing that an individual is a fugitive economic offender on the Director or the person authorised by the Director.

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