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Source: The post is based on the article “India calls upon G20 countries for faster extradition of fugitive economic offenders” published in The Hindu on 2nd March 2023.
What is the News?
India has called upon G20 countries to adopt multilateral action for faster extradition of fugitive economic offenders (FEOs) and recovery of assets both on the domestic front as well as from abroad.
What are Fugitive Economic Offenders(FEO)?
Fugitive Economic Offenders Act,2018 has defined the term Fugitive Economic Offender(FEO).
FEO is defined as an individual against whom a warrant of arrest in relation to scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India and who has left the country to avoid criminal prosecution, or the FEO abroad refuses to return to face criminal prosecution.
The act lists 55 economic offences in the Schedule, which include: (i) counterfeiting government stamps or currency, (ii) dishonouring cheques, (iii) benami transactions, (iv) transactions defrauding creditors, (v) tax evasion, and (vi) money-laundering. The central government may amend the Schedule through a notification.
What is the process for declaring an individual an FEO?
Under the Act, an application must be filed in the special court asking that a particular individual may be declared an FEO.
The application must be accompanied by reasons for the belief that an individual is a fugitive economic offender; any information available as to the whereabouts of the fugitive economic offender; a list of properties or the value of such properties believed to be the proceeds of crime, etc.
The special court may then issue notice to the individual to appear at a specified place, and drop the proceedings if the individual complies.
If, however, the special court is satisfied that an individual is an FEO, it may record so in order, along with reasons. The court may then order the confiscation of the properties of the accused individual in India or abroad
Why has India called for multilateral action against FEOs?
India has called upon G20 countries to adopt multilateral action for faster extradition of fugitive economic offenders (FEOs) and recovery of assets both on the domestic front and from abroad.
This will allow for an effective investigation and speedy trial for the related offence and this would also help the banks and other financial institutions and tax authorities to achieve recovery from defaults committed by such FEOs.
This will help in restoring, to some extent, the overall health of these banks and other financial institutions, while eliminating the possibility of further misuse of these funds.