Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018 Current Affairs - 2020
As per a written reply given by Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha, the number of wilful defaulters in nationalised banks has increased by more than 60% to 8,582 in five years to March 2019.
The Finance Minister provided the written reply in Lok Sabha to a question asked that whether the cases of willful defaulters of banks have increased during the past five years.
Wilful Defaulter is an entity or a person that has not paid the loan taken back to the bank despite having the ability to repay it. Wilful defaulters are acted against comprehensively.
Data Provided by Government:
By end of fiscal year 2014-15, the figure of wilful defaulters in nationalised banks stood at 5,349, and since then the number of such borrowers has been consistently rising- with being 6,575 (2015-16), 7,079 (2016-17), 7,535 (2017-18) and now increased to 8,582 in 2018-2019 fiscal.
During the last 5 financial years about ₹7,654 crore has been recovered from wilful defaulters’ accounts.
Steps Taken By Government
As per data reported by 17 nationalised banks in India, till 31 March 2019, suits for recovery have been filed in 8,121 cases out of 8,582.
SARFAESI Act: In cases involving secured assets, action under provisions of SARFAESI Act (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002) has been initiated in 6,251 cases.
RBI Instructions: As per the instructions provided by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), wilful defaulters are not sanctioned any additional facilities by banks/financial institutions, their unit is debarred from floating new ventures for 5 year and even criminal proceedings are initiated wherever necessary. In accordance with this FIRs have been registered in 2,915 cases.
SEBI Regulations: Besides, vide Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations, wilful defaulters and companies who has with wilful defaulters as either promoters or directors have been debarred from accessing capital markets to raise funds.
IBC 2016: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 has debarred wilful defaulters from participating in insolvency resolution process.
FEO Act 2018: The government has enacted Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 for effective action against wilful defaulters who flee Indian jurisdiction. It provides for attachment and confiscation of property of fugitive offenders and to disentitle them from defending any civil claim.
PSBs: Government has also advised all Public Sector Banks (PSB) to decide on publishing photographs of all concerned wilful defaulters and to obtain certified copy of passport of promoters/directors and other authorised signatories of companies availing loans of over ₹50 crore. The heads of PSBs have also been empowered to request for issuance of look out circulars (LoC) against wilful defaulters.
Tags: FEO Act 2018 • Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018 • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 • Look out Circulars • Nirmala Sitharaman
The Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) court in Mumbai has declared Vijay Mallya as a Fugitive Economic Offender. Vijay Mallya is the first businessman to be charged under the new fugitive economic offender’s act 2018.
Declaration of the Fugitive Economic Offender
Vijay Mallya is declared as the Fugitive Economic Offender under the following provisions:
- According to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 a fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for his or her involvement in economic offences involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has left India to avoid prosecution.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.