Govt tables bill to impound, sell assets of absconding fraudsters

New Delhi, Mar 12: The government Monday 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.
“The absence of such offenders from Indian courts has several deleterious consequences, such as, it obstructs investigation in criminal cases, it wastes precious time of courts and it undermines the rule of law in India,” it said.
It further said that most of such cases of economic offences involve non-repayment of bank loans thereby worsening the financial health of the banking sector in India.
The existing civil and criminal provisions in law are inadequate to deal with the severity of the problem, it said.
“In order to address the said problem and lay down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, it is proposed to enact a legislation, namely, the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 to ensure that fugitive economic offenders return to India to face the action in accordance with law,” it said.