politics

Government’s discomfort was ‘conveyed’ to Tibetan leadership on Dalai Lama events in Delhi

India’s Tibetan refugee community cancelled two major events in Delhi planned to mark the 60th anniversary year of the Dalai Lama’s escape to India, after the Central government’s discomfort was “conveyed” to its leadership in Dharamshala.The bulletin had reported on 2 march that an inter-faith meeting at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat on March 31 had been cancelled.

“His Holiness is not expected to be in Delhi on March 31, and therefore the inter-religious event planned at the Gandhi memorial will not be held,” Sonam Norbu Dagpo, secretary of International Relations in the Department of Information and International Relations of the “Tibetan government-in exile” had told The bulletin

Meanwhile, a massive rally at Delhi’s Thyagaraja Stadium on April 1, which was also due to be attended by the Dalai Lama, has now been moved to Dharamshala, where the Tibetan leadership is based.

“There was no direct message from the government to call off the commemorations, but it was conveyed to our leadership that perhaps these events should not be held in Delhi,” said Tenzin Lekshay, spokesperson of the Dalai Lama’s Bureau, confirming the cancellations.

Last week, the Indian Express reported on a note allegedly sent out by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha that directed officials and ministers to avoid taking part in events related to the 60th year commemoration in view of a “very sensitive time” in relations with China. The MEA and the government have declined to comment on the note, which was reportedly sent at the insistence of Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

However, the MEA said in a statement on March 2 that there was “no change in India’s position” on the Dalai Lama and “His Holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India.”

As The bulletin has reported, March will see visits by two senior Chinese ministerial delegations, while a high-level meeting between New Delhi and Beijing is also expected shortly, as both sides work to restore ties after the 73-day Doklam standoff and other issues they faced in 2017.

The Tibetan bureau confirmed, however, that other commemorative events, including the “Bharat Jagran Yatra” of Tibetan Youth Congress processions thanking India for its hospitality to the refugees as well as “raising awareness for the Tibetan cause” that are going out from Dharamshala, Chennai and Salaugara in West Bengal, to 150 towns and cities across the country, will go ahead as planned.

BJP parliamentary party meeting, Kim Jong-un meets S. Korean officials, and other news in pictures

 

The Parliamentary party of the Bharatiya Janata Party met in New Delhi on Tuesday, the first after the assembly results Tripura, Nagaland Mizoram. The party’s top decision-making body will decide on the chief ministerial candidate for Tripura, later in the day. Marking its ascendancy in the northeast, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Tripura Assembly elections, ending the 25-year reignof the CPI(M)

Marking its ascendancy in the northeast, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Tripura Assembly elections, ending the 25-year reign of the CPI(M), and put itself in a position to form an alliance government in Nagaland. In Meghalaya, it prevented the Congress from winning a majority, and could well be part of a coalition regime.

The BJP swept Tripura in partnership with the Indigenous People’s Front of Twipra (IPFT) to end the Left Front’s rule and managed to tone down its Hindutva image to improve its performance in Nagaland. Despite the Congress emerging as the single largest party in instability-prone Meghalaya, the BJP could form a coalition government with regional parties.

Crucial numbers

While Tripura gave a clear result, the verdicts in Meghalaya and Nagaland were fractured. At the end of the day, it was clear that neither of the two major regional players in Nagaland — the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the breakaway Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) — was in a position to form the government without the BJP, which upped its tally to 11 from one in 2013.

The BJP inked a pre-poll alliance with the NDPP, but kept its options open to accommodate the NPF, which had been an ally in Nagaland since 2003. Both the BJP-NDPP combine and the NPF fell short of a majority, but the former appeared set to form the government by garnering support from an independent and the lone Janata Dal (United) candidate, who had earlier sided with NPF.

The Congress, wiped out in Tripura and Nagaland, has not given up hope of forming a government in Meghalaya, but is wary of a Manipur-like situation where it emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly elections last year but lost seven MLAs to the BJP that cobbled up an alliance government.

If the BJP forms the government in Meghalaya with two regional parties — the National People’s Party (NPP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP), both constituents of an anti-Congress front named the North East Development Alliance — it will leave only Mizoram and Sikkim where the party is yet to make inroads.

Bitter battle

For the BJP, the victory in Tripura has been the “sweetest after a bitter territorial battle” with the deeply-entrenched Left Front, led by the CPI(M). The BJP got a vote share of 43% to win 35 seats, a huge leap from the paltry 1.54% it could manage in 2013.

What worked for the BJP was its slogan of ‘Chalo paltai’ (Let’s change) that caught the imagination of the electorate. “It has been a historic win. This was possible due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts. He not only campaigned but also monitored the party’s poll preparations,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told reporters here. The CPI(M), he said, gave a spirited fight but the urge for change “from misrule” made the difference.

CPI(M) leaders said they accepted the people’s verdict but blamed foul play by the BJP and the RSS, “aided by paramilitary forces,” for its loss. “We will review the loss and try to come back strongly later,” CPI(M)’s State secretary Bijan Dhar said.

Among the factors that worked in favour of the BJP-IPFT alliance were anti-incumbency, alleged corruption by the Left Front government, and allegations that the CPI(M) worked for the benefit of only its workers and leaders.

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No riots in Uttar Pradesh now, says Yogi Adityanath

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said that it was a “glimpse of good governance” that “not a single riot” had taken place in the State in the 11 months since he took charge.

Mr. Adityanath made the comment at a rally in Phulpur in Allahabad. A Lok Sabha by-poll will be held here on March 11.

While targeting the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government for poor law and order, Mr. Adityanath said that the people of U.P. “bore the blazes of riots” under it, with two communal flare-ups taking place every week. Mr. Adityanath alleged that former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had provided patronage to rioters.

“Nobody can engage in riots now because rioters know the costs they will have to bear if they commit the audacity,” Mr. Adityanath said.

Campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Kaushalendra Patel, Mr. Adityanath said that his government had not only shut down “illegal slaughterhouses” but curbed also cow smuggling and allocated funds for the building of gaushalas at the district, tehsil and block levels.

Though he did not mention any names, he made a veiled attack on former Phulpur MP and controversial politician Atiq Ahmed, who is in Deoria jail currently but is also in the running in the by-poll as an independent. Mr. Ahmed faces over 40 criminal cases, including charges of murder.

Mr. Adityanath appealed to voters to “remove the smear of mafia” from Phulpur, which gave the nation its first Prime Minister.

How to read a China-India encounter

 

Differing Indian interpretations of a brief May Day exchange between China’s Chairman Mao Zedong and India’s charge d’affaires Brajesh Mishra in 1970 delayed the return of an Ambassador to Beijing by six years. The diplomatic opening to India from the Chinese came after years of non-contact and has been the subject of much analysis in both countries.

In a note for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Natwar Singh — posted in the PMO at the time — said the encounter was “not an earth shattering event”. Mr. Singh, who went on to become India’s External Affairs Minister, felt it would be wrong to dismiss the meeting as a “casual encounter”, but at the same time one should not “read too much into it”.

This note is among hundreds of documents collated by Avtar Singh Bhasin, formerly with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a five-volume documentary study of INDIA AND CHINA relations, published in association with the policy planning division of the Ministry.

Immediate cable

After his encounter at the Tiananmen Square, Mr. Mishra sent a “most immediate” cable to Mrs. Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Dinesh Singh, the same day quoting Mao: “‘We cannot keep quarrelling like this. We should be friends again. India is a great country … we will be friends again someday.’ I replied ‘We are ready to do it today’.”

“In anything connected with Chinese leaders it is difficult to say whether it [the conversation] was premeditated or not. My judgment is that Mao was fully briefed before arriving on the [Tiananmen] rostrum [where other diplomats were also present]. In any case, expression as above of friendship by Mao himself should be given the most weighty consideration,” Mr. Mishra informed New Delhi in a four-paragraph cable.

On May 6, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official, Yang Kung Su, told Mr. Mishra after repeated queries, “Our great leader, Chairman Mao, has talked to you personally. That I think is the greatest concrete action on our side and it is the principle guiding the relations between China and India.”

During the meeting, Mr. Mishra lamented the fact that there had hardly been any contact between the two countries in the past 11-12 years and suggested “concrete action” to improve relations. “There is no trade between us. Even our Embassies are not full fledged.”

In June 1970, Mr. Mishra came to Delhi and met Mrs. Gandhi and her trusted officials including P.N. Haksar and T.N. Kaul. He suggested that India should send an Ambassador to Beijing since G. Parthasarathy had completed his term and Delhi did not appoint a replacement.

In a 2006 interview to the Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, Mr. Mishra, who went on to become Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s Principal Secretary, said Mrs. Gandhi was inclined to support sending an Ambassador but Mr. Haksar “turned the meeting around”. Mr. Mishra suggests in the interview that negotiations for an Indo-Soviet friendship treaty were at an advanced stage at the time.

The late diplomat also said in the interview that in early 1971, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai conveyed his congratulations through him in Beijing to Mrs. Gandhi for her election victory, suggesting continuity in Chinese policy of making up with India from the May 1 conversation.

It would be further five years before External Affairs Minister Y.B. Chavan announced in the Lok Sabha on April 15, 1976, that K.R. Narayanan, who rose to be President of India, would be India’s new ambassador to China.

Pakistan elects its first Dalit woman Senator

Pakistan elected its first Dalit woman Senator over the weekend, in polls which also saw the ruling party strengthen its hand ahead of general elections in the country.

Opposition candidate Krishna Kumari Kohli’s surprise victory stirred a wave of optimism on social media, as Pakistanis celebrated the rare win for a woman from a marginalised community that lies at the bottom of the Hindu caste hierarchy.

“I feel proud, I am thankful to Pakistan People’s Party that they nominated me,” Ms. Kohli told AFP on March 4.

“Kudos to PPP for electing #KrishnaKohli…. Our parliament should have representatives of all religions, classes & genders in pursuit of true democracy,” tweeted rights activist Jibran Nasir.

Pakistan’s Hindus, who make up around 2% of the country’s 200 million people, have long faced economic and social discrimination.

She won the election for the reserved seat for women from Sindh Province, Dawn News reported.

Her election represents a major milestone for women and minority rights in Pakistan. Earlier, the PPP had elected first Hindu woman named Ratna Bhagwandas Chawla as a Senator.

Ms. Kolhi belongs to a remote village in Nagarparkar district of Thar in Sindh province.

Born to a poor peasant, Jugno Kolhi, in February 1979, Ms. Kolhi and her family members spent nearly three years in a private jail owned by the landlord of Kunri of Umerkot district. She was a grade 3 student at the time when held captive.

She was married to Lalchand at the age of 16, when she was studying in 9th grade. However, she pursued her studies and in 2013 she did masters in sociology from the Sindh University.

She had joined the PPP as a social activist along with her brother, who was later elected as Chairman of Union Council Berano.

Ms. Kolhi also actively participated and worked for the rights of downtrodden people of marginalised communities living in Thar and other areas.

She is from the family of the valiant freedom fighter Rooplo Kolhi, who had waged a war against the invading British colonialist forces when they had attacked Sindh from Nagarparkar side in 1857. Subsequently, he was arrested and hanged by the Britishers on August 22, 1858.

Ms. Kohli’s win followed a secret round of voting by members of the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies, in what is largely seen as insider horse trading ahead of elections due this summer.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won 15 seats in the Senate, securing a total of 33 spots in the 104-seat upper house, which along with support from allies all but earns the party a dominating majority in the chamber.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won the second largest number of seats in the contest, while cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party came in third.

“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has secured a clear majority in the Senate polls,” the party announced late on March 3 on its official Twitter account.

Former Bihar Cong. chief joins JD(U)

Former State Congress chief Ashok Choudhary and three other MLCs who quit the party on Wednesday formally joined the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Thursday in the presence of Chief Minister and party president Nitish Kumar.

The Congress leaders said more Congress legislators would join the JD(U) in the days to come

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) claimed that over two dozen NDA MLAs were in regular touch with the party to switch over at an “appropriate time”.

The four Congress MLCs Ashok Choudhary, Dilip Choudhary, Tanvir Akhtar and Ramchandra Bharti reached the official residence of Mr. Nitish Kumar, and formally joined the party. State JD(U) chief Basistha Narayan Singh, senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP RCP Singh and other party leaders o were present.

It was said that Mr. Nitish Kumar would soon expand his Cabinet and Mr. Choudhary could be included as a Minister.

Power and position

Mr. Choudhary was the education minister in the earlier grand alliance government but had to resign after Nitish Kumar dumped the grand alliance to join hands with BJP.

“Whatever responsibility given by the Chief Minister, I’ll try my best to fulfil it…but everything is not being done in politics for power and position”, Mr Choudhary told journalists after coming out of the CM’s house.

He said despite contributing a lot for the Congress, he was humiliated by party leaders.

Mr Choudhary, also said that more Congress legislators would join JD(U) in the coming days.

State Congress leader Chandan Yadav on Thursday said, “Mr. Ashok Choudhary had betrayed the trust of Congress leadership and party workers …in fact, what he is today is only because of the Congress”.

Congress picks Winsome case to poke Narendra Modi

Flagging yet another banking fraud  the Congress on Thursday raised the case of the Winsome Group chairman Jatin Mehta, who allegedly fled the country after the non-payment of a loan worth ₹6,712 crore.

Congress’ media in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the complaints in Mr. Mehta’s case were filed by the banks to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and also to the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police in February 2014. The annual financial statement of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Limited (WDJL) for the financial year 2013-14 filed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, too, recorded these complaints.

The CBI lodged six FIRs in April 2017. Mr. Mehta and his wife fled from India, gave up their Indian citizenship on June 2, 2016 and settled down as citizens of the international tax haven St. Kitts and Nevis.

Detailing the modus operandi, Mr. Surjewala said that Mr. Mehta imported gold based on letters of credit issued by Indian banks. Jewellery was exported to 13 entities in Dubai, who refused to pay back.

“Who is Jatin Mehta? Does the protection emanate on account of his close relationship with an industrial house close to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi?” Mr. Surjewala asked. Mr. Mehta’s son is married to the daughter of industrialist Gautam Adani’s elder brother.

St Kitts has an Interpol office but still the government did not issue a red corner notice, said Mr. Surjewala. “How could the Home Ministry permit renunciation of citizenship in the absence of appropriate police verification in view of pendancy of complaints with the CBI/ED (Enforcement Directorate) and other agencies, as also the declaration of loans of all his companies as non-performing assets,” Mr. Surjewala added.

He said that businessmen close to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government are perfecting the “art of leaving”. “Modi (Nirav), Mehul (Choksi) and Mehta (Jatin) scammed and scrammed under the Modi government’s watch,” Mr. Surjewala said.

He added that while the Congress is flagging banking frauds, it does not support the privatisation of the national banks.

 The Delhi government has decided to set up its State Sanskrit Education Council

The Delhi government has decided to set up its State Sanskrit Education Councilto improve the state of formal education of the language in the national capital.

 Deputy chief minister Manish sisodia directed the education department to examine various representations received by the Delhi government pertaining to Sanskrit education in schools and colleges.
“Formal education of Sanskrit language in Delhi is a mess. I keep receiving representations from various people on issues pertaining to Sanskrit education in schools, colleges and universities. The main reason behind this is that Delhi does not have  State Sanskrit Education Council” he said in an official order.
 “The department may examine the representations and do the needful to set up a Delhi State Sanskrit Education Council A detailed step-by-step programme about actions to be taken should be submitted to me as soon as possible,” Sisodia said.

Today PM Modi meet Jordan’s King Abdullah

Jordan’s King Abdullah ‘, who arrived in India on Tuesday, will meet Prime Minister Narendra modi at Hyderabad House today.

The key areas of discussion between the two leaders will include defence, security and investments.

King Abdullah, who is known to be against Islamic extremism, could be of great help to India in counter-terror operations.

The visit could also expedite the negotiation of a defence framework agreement between India and Jordan.

In fact, with Abdullah’s support, India can deepen security ties with Jordan to leverage its unique strategic location in the Levant, with access to the Red Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.

PM Modi and the king are also likely to explore ways to deepen bilateral trade ties, which are especially significant as twenty textile industries from India have invested around $300 million in Jordan.

Yesterday, King Abdullah visited the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi to explore collaboration with Jordanian technical institutes.

The king’s visit comes soon after Modi’s visit to Jordan earlier this month – the first by an Indian PM in 30 years.

Reach out to protesting officers, L-G tells Kejriwal

Over a week after the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by Aam Aadmi Party MLAs inside Chief Minister Arvind Kejirwal’s residence, Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal has asked Mr. Kejriwal to “reach out directly” to the officers who have been protesting since then.

On Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had written to Mr. Baijal that officers were skipping meetings called by him. He had asked Mr. Baijal to intervene as services were a matter under the L-G’s control.

In response, Raj Niwas issued a statement on Tuesday saying Mr. Baijal had written to Mr. Kejriwal emphasising that the “unfortunate incident of alleged misbehaviour and physical assault on the Chief Secretary” was “unprecedented” and had had a “demoralising effect” on the bureaucracy. The statement said the L-G urged the Chief Minister to reach out directly to the employees, as the greater responsibility lay with him since the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary was reported to have happened at his residence in his presence.

Mr. Baijal noted that in the course of his long career in government, he did not recall there being such a wide rift between the elected government and the bureaucracy, the Raj Niwas statement said.

Cabinet meeting

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary and two top officers — Finance Secretary S.N. Sahai and Home and General Administration Department Secretary Manoj Kumar Parida — attended the meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday afternoon.

It was the second Cabinet meeting since the alleged incident. While Mr. Prakash had not attended the Cabinet meeting held at the Chief Minister’s residence on February 20, the other officers had.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said it was decided to hold the Budget session of the DELHI Assembly from March 16 to 28.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Secretary had written to Mr. Kejriwal saying he and other officers would attend the Cabinet meeting on the assumption that there wouldn’t be any “attack” on officers.

Karti’s arrest is a diversonary tactic: Congress

Reacting to reports that former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son, Karti Chidamabaram, has been detained at the Chennai airport by CBI officials, the Congress party called it ‘vendetta and a diversionary tactic’ to take away attention from the Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi scam.

“Classical diversionary tactic to hide scams and colossal corruption that is being exposed on a daily basis, be it Nirav Modi, be it Mehul Choksi, be it Rotomac or Dwarkadas jewellers. Prime Minister Modi is yet to make the transition from *maun* (silent) Modi to *bol* (speak) Modi,” Congress’ communication head Randeep Surjewala said.

“Congress will not be deterred by unleashing of vendetta against Mr. P. Chidamabaram and his family. We will continue to bring out the truth. We will continue to bring out cases of corruption,” Mr. Surjewala said.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram is reported to have left for London early this morning to deliver a lecture before the news of his son’s arrest broke out.

The case against Mr. Karti Chidamabaram relates to allegations of bribery to help a media company get foreign investment clearance when his father was the Finance Minister.

Denying all the allegations, Mr. Chidamabaram himself had moved the Supreme Court against the government for violating his privacy by government agencies with “unsubstantiated leaks” against him and his family.

 SC seeks details on over-crowded prisons

The Supreme Court has asked the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to provide details and figures of prisons where the occupancy rate is over 150% as on December 31, 2017.

A three-judge Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur has further asked NALSA Director Surinder S. Rathi to provide the number of posts lying vacant in major prisons across the country. The top court is hearing a matter relating to inhuman conditions prevailing in 1,382 prisons across the country.

The apex court further agreed to hear issues related to standard operating procedure for Under Trial Review Committees (UTRCs) and responses received from States and Union Territories on open jails on March 27.

The UTRCs, set up in every district, deliberates and recommends the release of undertrial prisoners and convicts who have completed their sentences or are entitled to be released from jail due to bail or remission granted to them.

Semi-open prisons or open prisons allow convicts to work outside the jail premises and earn a livelihood and return in the evening. The concept was brought in to assimilate the convicts with society and reduce the psychological pressure and lack of confidence they faced lack of confidence in returning to lives outside prisons

For open prisons

On September 15, last year, a Supreme Court judgment had encouraged the need for open prisons. It had urged for steps like the appointment of counsellors and support persons for prisoners, particularly first-time offenders.

The apex court had suggested steps like more family visits for prisoners and use of phones and video-conferencing not only between a prisoner and family, but also his lawyers.

The court had directed the State Legal Services Authorities (SLSAs) to conduct a study and performance audit of prisons. It wanted the government to constitute a Board of Visitors which includes eminent members of society to initiate prison reforms.

India one of the most open economies, says Modi at India-Korea Business Summit

Pitching for foreign investments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said India is one of the most open economies in the world and is ready to do business with the world.

Speaking at the India-Korea Business submit he said his government has worked towards creating a stable business environment and removed arbitrariness in decision-making.

“We seek positivity in day-to-day transactions. We are widening areas of trust rather than digging into doubts. This represents a complete change of the government’s mindset,” he said.

India, he said, is already the third-largest economy in terms of purchasing power. “Very soon, we will become the world’s fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. We are also the fastest-growing major economy of the world today,” he said.

“We are also a country with the one of the largest start-up eco-system,” he added.

Stating that the government is on a de-regulation and de-licensing drive, Mr. Modi said validity period of industrial licences has been increased from three years to fifteen years and more.

“If you see around the globe, there are very few countries where you have three important factors of economy together. They are: democracy, demography and demand. In India, we have all the three together,” he said.

To the Korean businessmen, he said India is now ready for business and promised to do whatever is required to “promote and protect” their investment.

 

Rahul Gandhi’s Karnataka campaign, China-South Korea relations

 

AICC president Rahul Gandhi who is on a tour of Karnataka, visited the popular pilgrimage centre, Saundatti Yallamma temple on Monday.

Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, district in charge minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, AICC secretary Satish Jarkiholi, KPCC president G Parameshwar, temple committee president Ramanagouda Tiparashi, and others were present.

He was escorted to the temple complex by the temple administrator Ravi Kotargasti and others. A small pooja was performed.

Bill soon to seize assets of fleeing offenders

 

A draft of the bill, which is in consonance with similar legislations in several countries, was circulated in May last,seeking comments from all stakeholders. The bill was also cleared by the Law Ministry with certain recommendations on reconciliation of provisions with the existing laws.

The draft bill followed an announcement in the Budget 2017-18 that the government planned to introduce a legal measure to facilitate confiscation of assets of the economic offenders who flee to foreign jurisdictions to escape the clutches of law.

The move came after Vijay Mallya, who owed more than ₹9,000 crore to public sector banks, flew out of the country and refused to come back. It set off prolonged and multi-pronged legal proceedings, with the government still fighting a legal battle for his extradition from the United Kingdom.

The draft bill defines a fugitive economic offender as any individual against whom an arrest warrant has been issued and who has either left the country or refuses to come back to face prosecution.

ED tasked with job

As proposed, the Enforcement Directorate will be empowered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to initiate the proceedings. It also has a provision enabling repayment of dues to creditors by disposing of confiscated assets, in case the accused offender continues to evade prosecution.

As listed in the draft bill’s schedule, it will be applicable to various financial and allied offences as defined under the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, Customs Act, Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

The Central government may soon bring in a fugitive economic offenders bill, which proposes the confiscation of assets of those who flee the country to evade prosecution, or refuse to return, in cases involving more than ₹100 crore.

The proposed law assumes significance in view of the reports of major bank frauds in the past fortnight. Accused of complicity in the ₹11,400-crore fraudulent transactions in the Punjab National Bank, diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his family members are currently abroad. The passports of Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi have been revoked.

In another case involving ₹389 crore of the Oriental Bank of Commerce, a Delhi-based jewellery exporter and his business partners fled the country in 2014. Under the existing laws, the bank has failed to recover the dues in the past three years.