New Delhi, February 26: In a bid to tighten noose against fraudsters like diamond merchant Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, the Narendra Modi government is likely to introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill in the second part of Budget Session commencing on March 6. The Bill will enable the government to impound and sell assets of absconding corporate defaulters, a move that will allow quicker recovery of dues through a special court. Also Read - ED Brings Back Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi’s Jewellery Worth Rs 1,350 Crore From Hong Kong to India
The Union Law ministry had approved the finance ministry’s draft of Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017, in September last year. It defines fugitive economic offender as any individual against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in relation to a scheduled offence and who leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution or refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. Also Read - Amid Coronavirus, Central Hall Likely to Host Proceedings of Monsoon Session of Parliament
According to a report in MoneyControl, the draft Bill covers a wide range of offences including wilful loan defaults, cheating and forgery, forged or fraudulent document of electronic records, duty evasion and non-repayment of deposits among others. Also Read - Virtual Parliament: Rajya Sabha Chairman, Lok Sabha Speaker Plan Way Forward to Hold Monsoon Session Amid COVID-19
The proposed law comes in the backdrop of Rs 11,400 crore fraud by Modi and Choksi involving the Punjab National Bank. Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and other probe agencies after the fraud recently came to light, following a complaint by the PNB that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Both Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before criminal cases were lodged against them.
The ED, a central probe agency under the Union Finance Ministry, is investigating if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
With inputs from PTI