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Fugitive economic offenders (FEO)

Topics Covered: Money laundering related issues.

Fugitive economic offenders (FEO):.

Why in News?

A special court has declared three people fugitive economic offenders (FEO) in the Sterling Biotech case on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) request.

What’s the issue?

The ED is conducting the money laundering probe based on two FIRs registered by the CBI against Sterling Biotech and others in October 2017. In one case, the agencies have alleged routing of undisclosed funds belonging to unknown Income-Tax Department officials, while the second case pertains to bank loan defaults of ₹8,100 crore.

Who is a Fugitive Economic Offender?

A person can be named an offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, if there is an arrest warrant against him or her for involvement in economic offences involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has fled from India to escape legal action.

The procedure:

  1. The investigating agencies have to file an application in a Special Court under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.
  2. The Special Court will issue a notice for the person to appear at a specified place and date at least six weeks from the issue of notice.
  3. Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. If not the person would be declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender based on the evidence filed by the investigating agencies.
  4. The person who is declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender can challenge the proclamation in the High Court within 30 days of such declaration according to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.


Prelims Link:

  1. Who is a fugitive economic offender?
  2. Composition and powers of ED.
  3. Establishment and powers of CBI.
  4. What is PMLA?
  5. Overview of Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and key provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

Sources: the Hindu.