Bill to expand definition of terrorist act introduced in RS

A bill seeking to expand the definition of "terrorist act" to include offences that threaten the country's economic security was introduced in the Rajya Sabha today.

Moving the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill for consideration, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, "The proposed amendments are carried to bring more clarity to the existing legal regime and remove deficiencies identified in its implementation by central and state intelligence and investigating agencies."

The amendments are necessary as India has made commitment as a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a 34-member global body, that chalks out policies to counter financial frauds, he said.

Shinde said the bill, already passed in the Lok Sabha, has taken into account suggestions of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and the observation of state governments. "Out of 14 recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, 10 have been adopted without any changes," he said.

Highlighting the salient features of the bill, the minister said the proposed amendments aim to enhance from two years to five years the period for which an association involved in terrorist acts, including terror financing, will be declared unlawful.

Section 15 of the bill has been amended to expand the definition of terrorist act to include acts that that involve detention, abduction, threats to kill or injure, or other actions so as to compel an international or inter-governmental organisation to comply with some demand.

The amendments enlarge the scope of Section 15 relating to punishment for those involved in procurement of weapons, raising funds for terrorist activities and counterfeiting Indian currency, the minister said. The bill also grants additional powers to court to provide for attachment or forfeiture of property equivalent to the counterfeit Indian currency involved in the offence or to the value of the proceeds of terrorism involved in the offence.

It inserts new sections to include offences by companies, societies or trusts.

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