Consequences of being declared a “Fugitive Economic Offender” !

Who is a “Fugitive Economic Offender” ?

As per Section 2(f) of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 a “fugitive economic offender” means any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a Scheduled Offence under the said acthas been issued by any Court in India and such a person:

  • has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or
  • being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

“The Proceeds of Crime”

As per Section 2(k) of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, “proceeds of crime” means

  • any property derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, by any person as a result of criminal activity relating to a Scheduled Offence under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018,
  • or the value of any such property,
  • or where such property is taken or held outside the country, then the property equivalent in value held within the country or abroad.

Special Court

Section 2(n) of the act defines “Special Court” as a Court of Session designated as a Special Court under Section 43(1) of the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002

Scheduled offence

According to Section 2(m), “Scheduled Offence” means an offence specified in the Schedule, if the total value involved in such offence or offences is one hundred crore rupees or more

Consequences

As per Section 12 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, once an individual is declared to be a fugitive economic offender

  • The Special Court may order that any of the following properties stand confiscated to the Central Government—
    • 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 benamiproperty in India or abroad, owned by the fugitive economic offender.
  • All the rights and title in the confiscated property shall, from the date of the confiscation order, vest in the Central Government, free from all encumbrances.
  • If on the conclusion of the proceedings, the Special Court finds that the individual is not a fugitive economic offender, the Special Court shall order release of property or record attached or seized to the person entitled to receive it.

What if you buy a property which falls under the “proceeds of crime” category?

The act, under Section 12(7) empowers the Special Court, while making the confiscation order, to exempt from confiscation, any property which is a proceed of crime in which any other person, other than the fugitive economic offender, has an interest. However, such property shall only be exempted if the Special Court is satisfied that such interest was acquired bona fide and without knowledge of the fact that the property was proceeds of crime.

-Tushar Kaushik

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