Modi Sarkar gets Cracking

The Cabinet approved a stringent law to confiscate the assets of those who flee the country to escape being brought to account and cleared setting up of an independent regulator for auditors that is already permitted under the companies law. The decisions follow the ₹12,622-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank involving jewellers Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and their companies that went undetected for years, raising questions about the competency of audits at multiple levels.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government will try and get the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill passed in the upcoming second half of the Budget session while details regarding the National Financial Reporting Authority will be issued soon.

Modi and Choksi left the country before the fraud became public. The government has also been unsuccessfully seeking to get Vijay Mallya extradited from the UK for having defaulted on debt repayments of Kingfisher Airlines and being wanted for questioning over money laundering. Former cricket administrator Lalit Modi is another person the government has been trying to bring back without success.

The fugitive Bill, which will apply with retrospective effect to all such persons as soon it comes into force as per the minister, will cover cases in which the total value is ₹100 crore or more to ensure less significant ones don’t overburden the special courts that will hear them.

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