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Fugitive Economic Offender

Topics Covered: Money laundering related issues.

Fugitive Economic Offender:


Context:

The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has allowed India’s extradition request against businessman Nirav Modi, who is wanted in connection with the ₹13,758 crore Punjab National Bank fraud, ruling that a prima facie case had been made out.

What next?

The order will be sent to the Secretary of State for the United Kingdom’s Home Department for further action. The Secretary of State has to take a decision within two months or seek an extension from the High Court.

Unless there is an appeal, a requested person must be extradited within 28 days of the Secretary of State’s decision to order extradition (subject to any appeal).

  • Appealing the Secretary of State’s decision in the High Court is only possible with the court’s permission.

Fugitive economic offender:

A special court, in December 2019, declared diamond businessman Nirav Modi, the key accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, a fugitive economic offender, on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.

Definition- Fugitive Economic Offender:

A person can be named an offender under the law 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 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.

InstaLinks:

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.