Lok Sabha passes bill to confiscate assets of fugitive economic offenders

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New Delhi (PTI): The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill aimed at preventing culprits from evading the legal process and fleeing the country was on JUly 19 passed by the Lok Sabha, as the opposition questioned the government’s sincerity in taking any action against them.
The House later passed the legislation by a voice vote as Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said the government had brought an ordinance before introducing the bill in Parliament which reflected its “aggressiveness” in acting against black money and such offenders.
Initiating the debate on the bill, Nishikant Dubey (BJP) strongly supported the measure saying it will allow the government to recover its dues from the absconding offenders.
He claimed that absconding accused like Mallya, Modi, Choksi were “products of the Congress government”, which had also “facilitated” their scams.
Rs 9.93 lakh crore of the Rs 10 lakh crore of non- performing assets (NPAs) had originated during the UPA era, he said, adding that countries like the UK, US and China amended their laws to deal with such offences, but the UPA government never did it.
The Prime Minister had promised to be a “chowkidar”, Shashi Tharoor (Cong) said referring to a number of economic offenders fleeing the country.
Most of the NPAs have been registered under the BJP government, Tharoor said, adding that the entire exercise of bringing the bill was “full of tokenism”.
T G Venkatesh Babu (AIADMK) said the intent of the bill was doubtful and dubbed it as “toothless.”
He also accused the Modi government of giving enough time to Nirav Modi and Mallya to escape from India.
He also stressed the need to empower the banks to achieve recoveries from loan defaulters.
Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) said the bill was discriminatory as it applied only in cases of economic offences of total value involved Rs 100 crore or more
Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) said India does not lack laws or regulations to deal with economic offenders like Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya.
“What is need of bringing new law (the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill) instead of plugging loopholes in old laws like the Prevention of Money Laundering Act or SARFESI Act,” he argued.
“Are you going to create better India or create India that will scare businessmen to another country,” he added.
M B Rajesh (CPI-M) said after wasting four years, the government came out with a bill with controversial provisions.
“The Prime Minister slept and facilitated the safe passage of 31 economic offenders,” he said.
Supriya Sule (NCP) raised the issue of rights of workers of companies promoted by economic fugitives like Modi and Mallya.
Dushyant Chautala (Indian National Lok Dal) and Kaulshendra Kumar (JDU) supported the Bill, but questioned why was the new legislation capping the amount to Rs 100 crore.

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