Fugitive Economic Offender’s Bill 2018

Fugitive Economic Offender’s Bill
Recently union cabinet cleared Fugitive economic offender’s bill. In this context following topics are discussed:
  1. What are the laws related to defining an Economic offence 
  2. Existing laws under which economic offenders are tried 
  3. The main aim of the proposed bill 
  4. Important provisions of Fugitive economic offender’s bill 
  5. How the new law is different from Prevention of Money Laundering Act 

Laws related to Economic offence:

Economic offences are those that are defined under the
  • Indian Penal Code, 
  • the Prevention of Corruption Act, 
  • the SEBI Act, the Customs Act, 
  • the Companies Act, 
  • Limited Liability Partnership Act, and the 
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. 

Existing laws:

The existing laws under which economic offenders are tried include are:
  • Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, (Sarfaesi), 
  • Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, and 
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. 

What is the Bill?

  • The main aim of the bill is to stop economic offenders who leave India to avoid due process. 
  • The provisions of the proposed fugitive economic offenders bill will apply to those involved in loan defaults, bank frauds, tax evasion, black money, benami transactions and corruption 

Key provisions of the bill:

  • As per the bill, the responsibility to prove an individual is a fugitive economic offender lies on Authorities 
  • The proposed bill will be applicable to all offences which involve amounts of Rs.100 crore or more. 
  • A director of a designated agency such as ED or Central Bureau of Investigation can move a plea to declare someone as an economic offender if the crime is already committed 
  • The enforcement directorate will be the apex agency that will implement the provisions of the bill 
  • The bill also provides for confiscation of benami properties. 
  • As per the proposed provisions of the fugitive economic offender's bill, the government will have the power to confiscate all the assets of an offender both within India and outside India 
  • As per the bill confiscation will not be limited to properties that are proceeds or profits of the crime. 
  • The proposed Bill also has provisions for setting up of a "Special Court" under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The court will declare an individual as "fugitive economic offender". 

Fugitive Economic Offender Bill 2017: Provision & Significance

How the new law is different from Prevention of Money Laundering Act?

  • Previously Prevention of Money Laundering Act provides for confiscation of assets of economic offenders. 
  • The proposed provisions of the economic offender's bill are different from Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In PMLA only profit of crime is confiscated and that too after conviction. The new law extends to all properties irrespective of whether it is acquired as a result of crime. 

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