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First Fugitive Economic offender Vijay Mallya
Former liquor baron Vijay Mallya named as India’s first fugitive economic offender.
Vijay Mallya declared a fugitive economic offender by the special court which was set to hear the cases under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA).
On July 31, 2018, Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA) becomes the law after the president gave assent to the bill.
Conditions to be met for declaring Fugitive Economic offender
(i) An arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crores &
(ii) The person has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.
Now as per the Law, the special court dealing with Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA), can order confiscation of a Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO’s) properties.
It includes benami properties & proceeds of crime in and outside India.After confiscation,the central government has the right over them and it can dispose them after 90 days.
Highlights of Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018
Parent Ministry: Finance,Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting
Introduced in Lok sabha & passed by both the houses and assented by President.
Highlights of the Bill:
This Bill allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if it met following two conditions:
(i) an arrest warrant has been issued for the specified offences where the value exceeds Rs.100 crore &
(ii) he/she has left the country and refuses or not willing to return to face the prosecution charges.
Procedure to declare a person Fugitive Economic Offender
- An application should be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act,2002), containing details of the properties to be confiscated &
- Any information of the person’s whereabouts.
Special court gives the offender, 6 weeks(from issue of notice) to appear at a specified place. If the accused appears then the Proceedings will be terminated.
What will happen after declaration as fugitive
Properties of the person (declared as fugitive) may be confiscated and Union government has the right over it and then the declared fugitive economic offender don’t have rights and claims in the property.
And then the Fugitive Economic Offender (FEO) or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.
The Bill does not require the authorities to obtain a search warrant or ensure the presence of witnesses before a search.
Whereas in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 has safeguards where it requires a search warrant or ensure the presence of witnesses before a search.
The Fugitive Economic offenders Bill provides for confiscation of property upon a person being declared an Fugitive Economic offender (FEO).
It differs from other laws like CrPC,1973, where confiscation is final two years after proclamation as absconder.
Note: Economic offences relate to fraud, counterfeiting, money-laundering, and tax evasion, among others.
Other laws which contain provisions to penalize Economic offences are :
(i) Benami Properties Transactions Act, 1988 which prohibits benami transactions
(ii) Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 which prohibits money-laundering
(iii) Companies Act, 2013 which punishes fraud and unlawful acceptance of deposits.
Some other laws that also cover economic offences, such as forgery and cheating are Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.