The United Cabinet on Thursday approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that allows for confiscating the assets of wilful bank loan defaulters with outstanding dues over Rs 100 crore and who have fled the country.
The provisions of the bill apply to those offenders against whom a warrant has been issued in relation to an economic offence. The bill will override other pieces of legislation dealing with economic offences, The Economic Times reported.
“The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 has been brought for confiscation of assets of a fugitive, including benami assets,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters. “There will also be a provision to confiscate such assets outside India but cooperation of that country will be needed.”
This comes as jewellery designer Nirav Modi is believed to have left the country days before the massive Punjab National Bank scam was revealed. Modi has been accused of defrauding the bank of Rs 12,703 crore. The billionaire and his uncle Mehul Choksi have not appeared before the Enforcement Directorate after being summoned. They claimed they could not return since their passports have been revoked.
Cabinet approves bill to regulate auditors
The Cabinet also approved the setting up of an independent regulator for auditors, PTI reported. The National Financial Reporting Authority will have jurisdiction over all listed companies and large unlisted public companies.
The government aims to attract foreign investment by ensuring that companies meet international standards, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. The panel will have a chairperson, three full-time members and a secretary.