Piyush Goyal moved fugitive economic offenders bill in Lok Sabha

Vastavam web: Finance Minister Piyush Goyal today 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 Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 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.

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. 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.