The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018 assented by the President. The Provisions become effective from 21st day of April, 2018
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018 ( No. 17 of 2018) of Parliament has received the assent of the President on the 31st July, 2018, and has been notified in the official gazettee.
It is an Act to provide for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, to preserve the sanctity of the rule of law in India and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Earlier, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 123 of the Constitution, the President had promulgated the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018.
The Act shall be deemed to have come into force on the 21st day of April, 2018. In other words, the provisions of this Act shall apply to any individual who is, or becomes, a fugitive economic offender on or after the date of coming into force of this Act.
The fugitive economic offender means any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a Scheduled Offence has been issued by any Court in India where such individual has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. However if the total value involved in such offence or offences is less than one hundred crore rupees the Act shall not apply.
The Director appointed under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) or any other officer not below the rank of Deputy Director authorised by the Director has reason to believe (the reasons for such belief to be recorded in writing), on the basis of material in his possession, that any individual is a fugitive economic offender, he may file an application in the Court of Session designated as Special Court under PMLA that such individual may be declared as a fugitive economic offender.
The Director/any other officer have been vested with the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while trying a suit under the Act. The Act also provide for Power of survey, Search and seizure, Search of persons etc.
However, the burden of proof for establishing that an individual is a fugitive economic offender or that a property is the proceeds of crime shall be on the Director/authorised person
With the permission of the said Special Court, the property of such fugitive economic offender may be attached. Also, on declaring an individual a fugitive economic offender the Special Court may order that properties out of the proceeds of crime in India or abroad, whether or not such property is owned by the fugitive economic offender and any other property or benami property in India or abroad, owned by the fugitive economic offender, shall stand confiscated to the Central Government.