The bill gives the government right to seize property of economic offenders who have fled India.
Facing flak for India's biggest-ever bank fraud of 1.8 billion US dollars, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet Thursday approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill aimed at tightening the noose around scamsters.
Jaitley said the bill was focused on the confiscation of assets because the "trial of a fugitive will never be complete".
The Union Law ministry had approved the bill in September previous year, after which it was tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley briefed the press on the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that was passed by the Cabinet today. "There will also be the provision to confiscate those assets outside India but co-operation of that country will be needed", said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Besides, Nirav Modi, alleged economic offenders Vijay Mallya, liquor baron and owner of now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, and former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi are also overseas after having defaulted on bank loans running into hundreds of crores of Rupees.More news: YouTube finally notices Infowars is peddling risky conspiracies
"In order to address the lacunae in the present laws and lay down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, the Bill is being proposed", it added. He is said to have fled the country and was reportedly last seen in NY after his appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos as a part of an Indian delegation. The move will allow quicker recovery of dues through a special court from absconding corporate defaulters.
Once it is voted into law, the proposed legislation will empower investigating agencies to confiscate, and vest with themselves, any property of the absconding offenders without encumbrances, and will apply to cases where proceeds of the crime are above Rs 100 crore. The Bill will confiscate assets of fugitive, who left the country after committing economic offences.
The government faced the Opposition's heat after a Rs 11,400-crore fraud at the Punjab National Bank (PNB), allegedly masterminded by fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, rocked the country.
The Cabinet also approved the proposal for establishment of the NFRA and creation of one post of chairperson, three posts of full-time members and one post of secretary. The existing civil and criminal provisions in law are not entirely adequate to deal with the severity of the problem and so the new law provide an effective, expeditious and constitutionally permissible deterrent to ensure that such actions are curbed. Law will apply to new and old cases of persons who have fled the country to avoid prosecution.
"Jurisdiction of NFRA for investigation of Chartered Accountants and their firms under Section 132 of the Act would extend to listed companies and large unlisted public companies, the thresholds for which shall be provided in the rules", he added. "The central government can also refer such other entities for investigation where public interest would be involved", the government said in a separate statement.