India for G-20 action on loot & scoot
12 June 2018: After proclaiming a command to act against commercial outcasts, the government has made a pitch at the G-20 for a global structure on the issue that may be shaped on the lines of the international fight against black money and help get special profile economic offenders to face the law, India’s sherpa at the forum of the world’s largest economies, Shaktikanta Das, suggested the issue at a recent meeting in Argentina and plunged it as part of the fight against corruption, terror funding and black money.
They added Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken up the issue of contending corruption and black money at multiple G-20 meets, starting with the Brisbane meeting in 2014. But with economic offenders ranging from Vijay Mallya to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fleeing the country and taking refuge in other countries, the government has stepped up the fight. In fact, when the Union Cabinet cleared the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that arms the government with powers to attach the properties of those who have fled the country, finance minister Arun Jaitley had talked about the need for international cooperation but had said that it was an issue that will be worked out in due course.
Sources said that Das raised the issue of international cooperation for repatriation of fugitives but it will require greater engagement given that some of the countries have a progressive outlook and often give asylum to the exiles who plead that they will not be given justice in India
Often repatriation has been time-consuming and a difficult process despite the government dismissing the passports of the alleged offenders. “We need more discussion on the issue before some concrete steps are taken,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
The UK, which is a key member of G-20, has become a favorite destination for the fugitives and a global framework may work to India’s advantage. Sources said that the global fight on black money, which has compelled the need for data sharing has proved to be a handy tool and brought about much-needed transparency in bank transactions, resulting in tax havens losing sheen.