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Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 approved, will force offenders to return India and face trial, says Centre Govt

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Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018

New Delhi: Amid PNB fraud row, the government has come up with a Bill to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018  in the Parliament. 

The Bill makes provisions for a Court (‘Special Court’ under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002) to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender.

The cases where the total value involved in such offences is Rs.100 crore or more will come under the purview of this Bill.

Purpose of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 Bill

The Bill is expected to include measures to compel the fugitive economic offenders to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences.

The government claimed it would also help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders.

It is expected that the special forum would be created for an expeditious confiscation of the proceeds of crime, in India or abroad. It would coerce the fugitive to return to India to submit to the jurisdiction of Courts in India to face the law for their offences, claimed the government.

What does Fugitive Economic Offender mean

A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

What are Scheduled offence

As per the government, a scheduled offence refers to a list of economic offences contained in the Schedule to this Bill. Further, in order to ensure that Courts are not over-burdened with such cases, only those cases where the total value involved in such offences is 100 crore rupees or more, is within the purview of this Bill.

Silent features of the FEO Bill, 2018 

  1. Application before the Special Court for a declaration that an individual is a fugitive economic offender;
  2. Attachment of the property of a fugitive economic offender;
  3. Issue of a notice by the Special Court to the individual alleged to be a fugitive economic offender;
  4. Confiscation of the property of an individual declared as a fugitive economic offender resulting from the proceeds of crime;
  5. Confiscation of other  property belonging to such offender in India and abroad, including benami property;
  6. Disentitlement of the fugitive economic offender from defending any civil claim; and
  7. An Administrator will be appointed to manage and dispose of the confiscated property under the Act.

Conditions

If at any point of time in the course of the proceeding prior to the declaration, however, the alleged Fugitive Economic Offender returns to India and submits to the appropriate jurisdictional Court, proceedings under the proposed Act would cease by law.

All necessary constitutional safeguards in terms of providing hearing to the person through counsel, allowing him time to file a reply, serving notice of summons to him, whether in India or abroad and appeal to the High Court have been provided for.

Further, provision has been made for the appointment of an Administrator to manage and dispose of the property in compliance with the provisions of law.

There have been several instances of economic offenders fleeing the jurisdiction of Indian courts, anticipating the commencement, or during the pendency, of criminal proceedings.

The absence of such offenders from Indian courts has several deleterious consequences – first, it hampers investigation in criminal cases; second, it wastes precious time of courts of law, third, it undermines the rule of law in India.

Further, most such cases of economic offences involve non-repayment of bank loans thereby worsening the financial health of the banking sector in India.

The existing civil and criminal provisions in law are not entirely adequate to deal with the severity of the problem. It is, therefore, necessary to provide an effective, expeditious and constitutionally permissible deterrent to ensure that such actions are curbed.

 It may be mentioned that the non-conviction-based asset confiscation for corruption-related cases is enabled under provisions of United Nations Convention against Corruption (ratified by India in 2011). The Bill adopts this principle.

In view of the above context, a Budget announcement was made by the Government in the Budget 2017-18 that the Government was considering to introduce legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such absconders till they submit to the jurisdiction of the appropriate legal forum.

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Campus Watch

Foundation Stone of HP Central University in Kangra laid, Will Be Ready in 3 Years, Says Govt

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HP Central University In Dehra, Kangra district

Kangra-The foundation stone of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh at Dehra in Kangra district was laid today by the Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Prakash Javadekar said that the forest clearance for construction of this University was also accorded when he was the Union Forest and Environment Minister. The State Government deposited Rs 6 crore under CAMP Act for forest clearance.

As per the official information released, the Central University will have two campuses at two different locations. The first Campus would be at Jadrangal near Dharamshala, which would be spread in an area of 750 hectares. The second campus would be established at Dehra in an area of 287 hectares.

The Government said about Rs.1300 crore would be spent on construction of both these campuses and the same would be completed in the next three year, the government said. These campuses would be spread in an area of about 1000 hectare, making it one of the biggest University of the region.

The Government said that an amount of Rs.7044 crore was being spent on the education sector during the current financial year and a provision of Rs.7600 crore had been made for the next financial year.

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5MW Solar Power Plant in Bilaspur’s Naina Devi Ji Inaugurated

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Solar Power Plant in Naina Devi In Bilaspur district - himachal pradesh

Shimla-The 5MW Berry Dol Solar Power Plant constructed near Shri Naina Devi Ji Shrine in Bilaspur district was inaugurated today. The HP Power Corporation Ltd. claimed it spent Rs. 36.24 crore on this project.

As per the official information released by the State Government, this power project is synchronised with Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) Ltd 33/11 KV network Kot.

The power generated was being sold to HPSEB. T

This power project is expected to generate 101-lakh unit electricity per annum, earning revenue of Rs. 4.40 crore to the State exchequer.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, MPP and Power Minister Anil Sharma, MLA Jhanduta  J.R.Katwal , IG Himanshu Mishra, Deputy Commissioner Bilaspur Vivek Bhatia, CO IRB Gaurav Singh were present on the occasion.

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Avalanche in Kinnaur buries soldiers, 1 killed, 5 missing and feared dead

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Kinnaur- An avalanche along the India-China border in Namgya region of Kinnaur district on Wednesday killed one soldier of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles while five others were buried and still missing. The body of one soldier, who was identified as Rakesh Kumar (41) of Ghumarpur village, Shahtalai, Bilaspur district, has been recovered. The rescue operation was underway at the time of writing.

The district administration and Superintendent of Police, Kinnaur, confirmed the news.

Jawans of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and district police are carrying out an extensive search and rescue operation.  

As per initial reports, which are not clear, about 10 jawans of ITBP were hit by a massive avalanche at about 11 AM on Wednesday while they were moving from one post to another. Five to six jawans were buried. Remaining jawans rescued one of them who later died on the way to the hospital in Pooh.  

Verification of more details is still awaited.

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