Haunted by the adverse publicity over liquor baron Vijay Mallya leaving the country to evade legal proceedings, the government has come up with a stringent draft law that proposes confiscating properties of “fugitive economic offenders”. Once cleared by Parliament, the proposed Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017, will override other laws dealing with economic offences in the country.
“The confiscation order of the Special Court (a court of session designated as Special Court under Section 43(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) will, to the extent possible, identify the property that constitutes proceeds of crime which are to be confiscated and in case such properties cannot be identified, quantify the value of the proceeds of crime,” the draft law said. The attachment of any property will continue for a period of 180 days from the date of the order of attachment.
However, the draft law proposes that authorities will bear the burden of establishing, through proofs, whether an individual is a fugitive economic offender and whether a property is proceeds of crime. According to the draft law, a ‘fugitive economic offender’, means any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to an economic offence has been issued and the person has left the country and refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.