The President promulgated the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018, to provide for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian court. It seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution. A fugitive economic offender has been defined as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing an offence listed in the schedule, and the value of the offence is at least Rs 100 crore.
Further the person has:
- Left the country to avoid facing prosecution, or
- Refuses to return to face prosecution.Some of the offences listed in the schedule are:
- Counterfeiting government stamps or currency,
- Cheque dishonour,
- Money laundering, and
- Transactions defrauding creditors.
A director or deputy director (appointed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) may file an application before a special court (designated under the 2002 Act) to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender. After hearing the application, the special court may declare an individual as a fugitive economic offender and confiscate properties that are proceeds of crime or any other property in India or abroad. Upon confiscation, all rights and titles of the property will vest in the central government, free from all encumbrances. The Ordinance allows any civil court or tribunal to disallow a person, who has been declared a fugitive economic offender, from filing or defending any civil claim.