The just promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance is set to roll into motion with the Enforcement Directorate moving to confiscate properties of businessmen Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
Following a marathon meeting, officials of the ED have decided to move the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) court to declare the businessmen as fugitives. The ED would cite the new law against economic offenders which was recently cleared by the Union Cabinet.
Prior to the new law kicking in, the fugitive offender continued to be the owner of the seized properties, but could not dispose of them. Under the new law, the offender would be dispossessed of the properties and the assets would then be vested with the Central Government. The Centre can dispose of these properties in a bid to recover the amount due.
The new law would hit Mallya first as the pre-conditions of an arrest warrant and filing of chargesheet have already been met. The ED would just need the nod of the PMLA court.
In the case of Modi and Choksi, the ED could first have to file a chargesheet. In the case of the three offenders, the ED has identified assets worth over Rs 12,000 crore. These can be confiscated and disposed of by the government once the court gives its nod.
Once the court gives its nod, the Centre would appoint an administrator to dispose of the properties. Under the new ordinance, no court or tribunal anywhere can entertain a plea relating to the confiscations once the PMLA court declares the offender a fugitive economic offender and ordered confiscation of the assets.