The Ministry of Home Affairs has authorised chief executive officers of public sectors banks to request for lookout circulars against wilful defaulters in order to prevent them from leaving the country, PTI reported on Thursday. This move will enable public sector banks to inform authorities to stop defaulters from fleeing even before a First Information Report is registered, reported Business Standard.

An inter-ministerial panel under Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar recommended amending an existing circular to include chiefs of public banks. The circular issued by the Home Ministry lists authorities who can request for lookout circulars to the ministry.

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are among those who have fled the country after defrauding banks of crores, and are under investigation by enforcement agencies. India is attempting to extradite Mallya and Modi from the United Kingdom. Choksi was granted citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017, and is believed to have been there since.

“It will act as a big deterrent for wilful defaulters and also bring about fundamental change in the creditor-debtor relationship,” Kumar told PTI. The Department of Financial Services has also issued an advisory to heads of all public sector banks to note the changes in the circular and act when required in the manner specified in the circular.

The amended circular now includes the chairman, managing director and chief executive officers of public sector banks, reported Bloomberg Quint. The circular also includes authorities not below the rank of deputy secretary in the central government, joint secretary in state governments, and police superintendents of districts concerned to request a lookout circular.

The earlier guidelines, issued in December 2017, had allowed only the Central Bureau of Investigation, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Research and Analysis Wing, designated officers of Interpol and the Enforcement Directorate to place a request for a lookout circular, reported Business Standard. The Home Ministry would then issue a lookout circular to all immigration check points of airports across the country.