Legal delays can’t save fugitive’s assets

Published May 19, 2017, 12:42 am IST
Updated May 19, 2017, 12:43 am IST
The attachment of any property under this case will continue for a period of 180 days from the date of the order of attachment.
Vijay Mallya
 Vijay Mallya

New Delhi: The draft of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill proposes that government can attach property of a  fugitive economic offender without court order if it believes any delay may  “result in the property being unavailable for

The attachment of any property under this case will continue for a period of 180 days from the date of the order of attachment. In the Union Budget finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced that government is considering to introduce a new law to confiscate the assets of high-value economic offenders absconding from India to defy legal process, seriously undermining the rule of law in India.
Pursuant to the budget announcement, a draft law, known as ‘The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017’ has been prepared to confiscate the property of the economic offenders escaping the country. Finance ministry on Thursday made draft copy of the bill public for comments.


Only those cases where the total value involved is Rs 100 crore or above will be within the purview of this Bill. The bill provides director appointed under Section 49(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, to file an application to the Special court for a declaration that an individual is a fugitive economic

The application must contain reasons for the belief that an individual is a fugitive economic offender and  list of properties owned by the person in India for which confiscation is sought.

The bill says that if the Special Court found that a person is fugitive economic offender, it can order confiscation to the Central Government any  property in India, owned by the fugitive economic offender and proceeds of crime, whether or not such property is owned by the fugitive economic offender.

However, if any individual to whom notice has been issued appears in person at the place and time specified in the notice, the Special Court may terminate the proceedings under this act.

The draft bill says that from the date of the confiscation order, all the rights and title in the confiscated property will vest in the Central Government, free from all encumbrances. “..... on a declaration of an individual as a fugitive economic offender, any court in India, in any civil proceeding before it, may, in its discretion, disentitle such individual from putting forward or defending any civil claim,” says the draft bill.

The administrator appointed to deal with the confiscated property  will hear the claims in relation to the confiscated property, in the manner as may be prescribed, and prepare a final list of creditors. The bill says that the confiscated property will be used to satisfy the claims of the creditors in the final list.

The burden of proof for establishing that an individual is a fugitive economic offender is on the director or the person authorised by the director to file the application.