In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the government quoted the figures shared by the CBI and other enforcement agencies about the absconders.

Key Findings-

According to the information provided-

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has informed the Finance Ministry that 51 absconders and proclaimed offenders in 66 cases.
  • The CBI has reported that the total amount defrauded by the accused persons in these cases comes over Rs 17,900 crore.
  • The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has reported that six economic offenders had left the country illegally.


Steps taken by the agencies and government-

  • The Enforcement Directorate has filed application against 10 individuals in the competent court under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
  • In respect of extradition requests sent by ED for 8 individuals, red-corner notices have also been published by Interpol.
  • The CBIC had sent two extradition requests to bring back the accused in these cases to the External Affairs Ministry in July.
  • The expected losses on account of the stressed loans stemming from such cases were reclassified as non-performing assets (NPAs) which is not provided earlier under the flexibility given to restructure loans.
  • The public sector banks had initiated the clean-up by recognising the NPAs and providing for the likely losses.


Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018-

  • The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 is an Act of the Parliament of India that seeks to confiscate properties and assets of economic offenders that evade prosecution by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
  • Economic offences with a value of more than Rs 100 crores, which are listed in the schedule of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, come under the purview of this law.
  •  As per the Act, a court (‘Special Court’ under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) has to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender.
  • On 5 January 2019, Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court has declared Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender. His properties can now be confiscated by the government.

Way Forward-

  • The Government should take immediate action regarding suspects.
  • However, Fugitive Economic Offenders Act is not retrospective but it is necessary that the government should implement this act very effectively.
  • Without any political bias, every individual recognizes the same and should not give any special treatment.

Source: The Hindu - https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/51-left-india-defrauding-over-17900-crore/article30152683.ece