Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017

Why in news?

Finance Minister had announced in last year’s Union Budget that the government would soon bring about a law that would allow the state to take possession of properties belonging to such offenders

After the PNB fraud came into light, the Union Cabinet has approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017


The Bill aims to stop economic offenders who leave the country to avoid due process

Offenses involving amounts of ₹100 crore or more fall under the purview of this law


Economic offences are those that are defined under the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, the SEBI Act, the Customs Act, the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code


According to Section 4 of the law, a ‘fugitive economic offender’ is “any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India, who:

(i) leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or

(ii) refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.”

What does the offender have to do?

The Court will issue a notice to the person named a ‘fugitive economic offender’

Within six weeks from the date of the notice, the person will have to present themselves at “a specified place at a specified time”

If the offender fails to do so, they will be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’ and their properties as listed in the Director’s application will be confiscated

Once the property is confiscated, can the offender file a civil claim?

Section 11 of the Act disqualifies those declared as offenders from either filing or defending a civil claim in court

What happens to the properties?

The Special court will appoint an ‘administrator’ to oversee the confiscated property

This person will be responsible for disposing of the property as well, and the property will be used to satisfy creditors’ claims.