Cabinet approves Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders - like Nirav Modi- who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution.

The Centre on Saturday approved a proposal to promulgate the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018 that provides for confiscating properties and assets of economic offenders, such as the loan defaulters who flee the country.

Though the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 12, it could not be passed due to the logjam in Parliament over various issues.

The ordinance seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders, such as Nirav Modi, who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the decision to promulgate the ordinance. It will come into effect after the assent of the President.

The provisions of the ordinance will apply for economic offenders who refuse to return, persons against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for a scheduled offence, as well as wilful bank loan defaulters with an outstanding amount of over Rs 100 crore.

It provides for confiscating assets even without conviction and paying the lenders by selling the fugitive's properties. Such economic offenders will be tried under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ordinance defines a fugitive economic offender as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing offences like counterfeiting government stamps or currency, cheque dishonour for insufficiency of funds, money laundering, and transactions defrauding creditors and have left the country to avoid facing prosecution or refuses to return to face prosecution.

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