Cabinet approves Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018; Arun Jaitley says Centre can't allow people to make 'mockery of law'

In a bid to crack down on defaulters, the Union Cabinet has cleared the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 and approved the establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, Jaitley said that a person fleeing the country to avoid criminal prosecution will be seen as a fugitive offender. If the person fails to respond to the government in six weeks, a special court under the money laundering Act, will declare him or her a fugitive.

Jaitley further said that cases allegedly involving a total value of above Rs 100 crore will be subjected to prosecution.

Elaborating on the consequences for the offender, Jaitley said, "It will lead to confiscation of all assets in India. And if there are benami assets, then even those will be included. There will also be a provision to confiscate those assets outside India but co-operation of that country will be needed."

Jaitley said that the bill would be soon be introduced in the Parliament. "The Act provides for constitution of the NFRA. There will be a chairperson and appropriate members in the authority. The authority has a provision that will specify the cases that will fall under it."

He further said that NFRA's jurisdiction would extend to listed companies and large-scale unlisted companies.

The finance minister added that NFRA would be "an oversight body." "We can't allow people to make mockery of the law. We have a very responsible Parliament," he said.

The Centre's move comes in the backdrop of the alleged Rs 12,700 crore PNB scam, in which diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi allegedly colluded with authorities. The duo left India in early January, weeks before the bank filed a complaint with the CBI.

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 19:38:05 IST