Fugitive economic offenders
Polity & Governance
4th Mar, 2023
India has called upon G20 countries to adopt multilateral action for faster extradition of ‘fugitive economic offenders’.
- India has urged for action against fugitive offenders during the first Anti-corruption working group meeting held in Gurugram.
- Economic offences have been a problem faced by many, especially when the offenders flee from the jurisdiction of the country.
- India has put in place specialised legislation in this regard, in the form of Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
Who are ‘fugitive economic offender’ (FEO)?
- FEO is defined as an individual against whom a warrant of arrest in relation to scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India and the value of the offence is at least Rs. 100 crore.
- The offender has left the country so as to avoid criminal prosecution; and refuses to return to face criminal prosecution.
Fugitive economic offenders act, 2018
- About: It aims to seize the property of economic offenders who have fled the nation to avoid being prosecuted or who refuse to come back to face charges.
- Declaration of FEO: A special court (established under the PMLA, 2002) may designate someone as a fugitive economic offender after hearing the application.
- It has the authority to seize any property, whether it is located in India or outside, including Benami properties and proceeds of crime.
- Upon confiscation, the central government will become the sole owner of the property and have all rights and titles (such as any charges on the property).
- Bar on Filing or Defending Civil Claims: The Act allows any civil court or tribunal to prohibit a declared fugitive economic offenderfrom filing or defending any civil claim.