New Delhi: Billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and the main accused in alleged fraudulent transactions of over Rs 11,400 crore through 150 letters of understanding issued by the Punjab National Bank, left India on January 1.
Modi’s leaving the country once again brings to limelight the cases of other economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Deepak Talwar and Sanjay Bhandari on the run.
Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who has been in self-imposed exile in the UK since March 2016 when he left India, is wanted in India on charges relating to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines defaulting on loans from various Indian banks amounting to Rs 9,000 crore. Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April, 2017 and has been out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds. The 61-year-old businessman is facing an extradition trial in UK which will now determine whether he can be legally forced to go back to face the Indian courts.
Lalit Modi who faces charges of tax evasion, money-laundering and proxy ownership linked to the IPL left the country in 2010. Credited for creating the cash-rich and glitzy Indian Premier League in 2008, Modi was expelled from the BCCI in 2010, which accused him of rigging bids and money laundering among other charges. He has been living in exile in London while facing an Enforcement Directorate inquiry for financial violations. Modi has since refused to return to India, alleging death threats from the underworld.
The income-tax department has filed five prosecution complaints against corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar. He fled India last year and is currently in the UAE, where he has been barred from leaving the country. He is under the I-T scanner for allegedly receiving $100 million in individual and corporate bank accounts controlled by him and his family members in various tax jurisdictions.
Controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari has been wanted in India for alleged violation of the FEMA law and for alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). Bhandari’s case first came to light after the I-T department conducted searches against him in April 2016 and recovered certain “sensitive” official defence documents from his premises. Bhandari is reported to have left India on December 2016 via Nepal. Bhandari is also believed to be in London now.
Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2017
The law ministry last year gave its concurrence to a draft bill that will give powers to the government to confiscate property of economic offenders and defaulters who flee India. It wants a ‘Saving Clause’ to be incorporated in the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2017. A saving clause provides for certain exception(s) in a statute. It enables the repealed law to be in force with respect to some existing rights. The bill flows from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2017–18 Budget speech promising legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such fugitives. It seeks to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by fleeing the country.