Bill to rein in loot & scoot approved by Parliament

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Times of India, July 26, 2018

Parliament on Wednesday approved a bill which aims to prevent economic offenders such as diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and former liquor baron Vijay Mallya from fleeing the country and evade the legal process.

The bill gives powers to the authorities to attach and confiscate the properties and proceeds of crime of such fugitive economic offenders who flee the country to avoid the legal process here. It is expected to pile pressure on these economic offenders to come back and face the law. The law is aimed at “effective, expeditious and constitutionally permissible deterrent” to ensure such actions are curbed and it will cover cases where the total value involved in an offence is at least Rs 100 crore.

The bill was passed unanimously in Rajya Sabha amid concerns expressed by opposition members about the effectiveness of the law and whether the government will be able to bring back the fugitives before the next general elections.

Finance minister Piyush Goyal said the government will ensure that unless a person comes back, he cannot try and stall the confiscation of his property in the garb of civil cases. Clarifying why the government had fixed the ceiling of Rs 100 crore to be covered under this law, Goyal said the focus is on big offenders and the government did not want to clog the special courts with huge number of cases.

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