India

Kovind gives nod to Bill that will stop ‘future Mallyas’

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a Bill that will deter fugitive economic offenders to evade legal process in India and flee the country.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 has got the nod from the President, according to an official order.
The new legislation will prevent big economic offenders like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi from fleeing the country and evading the law.

Both Mallya and Modi, wanted in cases being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), are out of India. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 25. The Lok Sabha had cleared it on July 19.

Kovind has also given nod to other laws the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2018, and the Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018.

The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, is aimed at allowing a court to try offences related to cheque bounce expeditiously, and direct the drawee to pay a minimum of 20% of the cheque amount as interim compensation. The Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018, grants a party the right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of a business contract, and to reduce discretion of courts in such matters.

Rs100 crore: benchmark for a fugitive economic offender

1 A fugitive economic offender is any individual against whom warrants for arrest is issued for his involvement in select economic offences involving amount of at least Rs100 crore or more and has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution.

2 Justifying the financial limit of Rs100 crore for invoking the provisions of this new law, interim finance minister Piyush Goyal had recently said in Parliament that it was being done to ‘catch the big offenders and not to clog the courts’.

Special court can confiscate offender’s properties

The new law allows designated special court to declare a person as fugitive economic offender and to confiscate his properties, including ‘benami’ ones.

‘We will work out what has to be done with the confiscated assets,’ Goyal had said in Rajya Sabha.

‘All the rights and title in the confiscated property shall, from the date of the confiscation order, vest in the central government, free from all encumbrances,’ the Act says. The Enforcement Directorate will be the investigative agency under the Act, he had said.

India asks Antigua to extradite fugitive Choksi

New Delhi: India has handed over a request to Antigua for extradition of bank fraud fugitive Mehul Choksi who has obtained citizenship of the Caribbean nation.

“A team from the ministry of external affairs met the foreign ministry officials of the island nation on Saturday and handed over the request to extradite Choksi to India,” an official source said.

Choksi is one of the alleged masterminds of the $2 billion scam in state-run Punjab National Bank and is an uncle of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi.

He is wanted in India by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate.

Did not give clean chit report: SEBI

Markets regulator SEBI never gave any clean chit report on Choksi to Antigua’s citizenship-for-investment authority, a senior official said.

“The regulator is continuing with its probe into alleged violation of capital market regulations by Choksi-Nirav Modi duo and their associates including some brokers in connection with two listed firms PNB and Gitanjali Gems,” the official added.

(With agency inputs)

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