Bar entry of fugitive offenders: PM to G-20

Bar entry of fugitive offenders: PM to G-20

Nirav Modi

Finding it difficult to bring back fugitives like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, India has now called upon all G-20 nations to deny entry and safe havens to fugitive economic offenders who fled other countries.

New Delhi has presented a nine-point proposal for action against fugitive economic offenders at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires. India argued for strong and active cooperation across G-20 countries to deal comprehensively with the menace of fugitive economic offenders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attending the summit in the Argentinian capital.

The proposal New Delhi presented before the G-20 stressed enhancing and streamlining cooperation in the legal processes such as effective freezing of the proceeds of crime. It also sought an early return of the fugitive offenders to the country where the offence had been committed as well as efficient repatriation of the proceeds of the crime.

Modi argued for joint efforts by G-20 countries to set up a mechanism that would deny entry and safe havens to fugitive economic offenders from any country to another.

He suggested that the principles of United Nations Convention Against Corruption, United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, especially related to “International Cooperation” should be fully and effectively implemented.

The escape of business tycoons Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi after allegedly defrauding banks brought the focus on economic offenders who fled the country.

Modi suggested to the G-20 that the Financial Action Task Force — an intergovernmental agency to combat money-laundering and financing of terrorism — should be called upon to establish cooperation to ensure exchange of information.

New Delhi proposed that the G-20 should ask the FATF to formulate a standard definition of fugitive economic offenders. The FATF should also develop a set of commonly agreed and standardised procedures related to identification, extradition and judicial proceedings for dealing with fugitive economic offenders to provide guidance and assistance to G-20 countries, subject to their domestic law, the prime minister suggested.

India suggested that a common platform should be set up for sharing experiences and best practices including successful cases of extradition, gaps in existing systems of extradition and legal assistance.

The Ministry of External Affairs informed Parliament in July this year that not only Mallya and Modi but as many as 28 people, who are under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate for defrauding banks, had fled the country.

Mallya is under probe by both the CBI and the ED for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans from several banks worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore. He is currently living in the United Kingdom. India’s request for his extradition is now pending before a court in the UK.

The UK is a member of the G-20 and British Prime Minister Theresa May is attending the summit at Buenos Aires.

New Delhi also requested the UK government for the extradition of Nirav Modi, who fled the country after allegedly defrauding Punjab National Bank of over Rs 13,000

India’s request for extradition of Nirav Modi’s business associate Mehul Choksi is also pending with the government of Antigua and Barbuda.
The government got the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 passed by Parliament in July.