NEW DELHI: In a move aimed at deterring economic offenders from fleeing the country, the Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017. Once the Bill becomes law, it will empower investigating agencies to confiscate unpledged properties of the absconding offenders.
The Cabinet also cleared setting up of National Financing Reporting Authority to check auditing lapses in the banking sector.
The moves are significant as they are designed to avoid situations like the Rs 12,700 crore Punjab National Bank scam in which the main accused, Nirav Modi, is absconding.
“The Bill would help in laying down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
It targets large defaulters responsible for economic offences worth over Rs100 crore. It is expected to be introduced in Parliament on March 5.
“Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 has been brought to confiscation the assets of a fugitive, including benami assets,” Jaitley said.
The Cabinet also cleared the establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) after reports of various auditing lapses in the banking sector resulting in a series of fraudulent transactions.
The NFRA will have one post of chairperson, three posts of full-time members and one post of secretary.
Chartered Aaccountants too under lens
The jurisdiction of National Financial Reporting Authority will include investigation of chartered accountants and their firms under Section 132 of the Act and would extend to listed companies and large unlisted public companies. The Central government can also refer such other entities for investigation where public interest would be involved