Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, November 30, (local time) presented a nine-point program to take action against fugitive economic offenders during his address in the second session of the ongoing G20 Summit in Argentina.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar took to his Twitter handle to share an image of the program that the Prime Minister presented at the G20 summit earlier on December 1.
As part of the program, Prime Minister Modi suggested "strong and active" cooperation among the G-20 nations. He highlighted the importance of cooperation in legal processes such as "effective freezing of the proceeds of crime; early return of the offenders and efficient repatriation of the proceeds of crime should be enhanced and streamlined", so as to "deal comprehensively and efficiently with the menace of fugitive economic offenders".
He further suggested joint efforts to be made by the G20 nations to form a mechanism that denies entry and safe havens to all fugitive economic offenders. He stressed the "effective" implementation of the principles of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (UNOTC). The Prime Minister underscored the need to implement features related to "International Cooperation" in the two conventions.
The Prime Minister said that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) should be called upon "to assign priority and to focus on establishing international co-operation that leads to a timely and comprehensive exchange of information between the competent authorities", adding that the FATF should be tasked to formulate a standard definition of fugitive economic offenders.
The document added that the FATF "should also develop a set of commonly agreed and standardised procedures related to identification, extradition and judicial proceedings for dealing with fugitive economic offenders to provide guidance and assistance to G-20 countries, subject to their domestic law".
The program suggested the setting up of a common platform "for sharing experiences and best practices including successful cases of extradition, gaps in existing systems of extradition and legal assistance."
The G20 forum should consider initiating work on locating properties of economic offenders who have a tax debt in the country of their residence for its recovery, the Prime Minister concluded.
Prime Minister Modi's program for curbing the menace of fugitive economic offenders comes amid heightened efforts by India to apprehend a number of such offenders, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle-cum-business-partner Mehul Choksi.
The three fugitives are involved in separate scams to the tune of billions of dollars.