In a landmark move, the Government has unveiled robust measures to clamp down on economic offenders, signaling a new era of accountability and financial integrity.
At the heart of the initiative is the collaboration between the Government and state-owned banks to formulate a unified approach for issuing lookout circulars (LOCs) against wilful defaulters and fraudsters.
For years, the lack of a cohesive framework had rendered the financial sector vulnerable, with each bank following its own set of guidelines. Recognising this gap, the Government’s decision to empower chief executives of PSBs marks a significant shift.
Now, these CEOs can directly request LOCs against individuals suspected of economic crimes, particularly those attempting to escape legal consequences by fleeing the country. This empowerment extends to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), bolstering its authority. The scope of this new protocol is comprehensive, involving various Government entities, including the Home Ministry, Ministry of External Affairs, and law enforcement agencies.
The collaboration is pivotal in enhancing the efficacy of immigration checks, ensuring that potential defaulters are intercepted before they can cross international borders.
The announcement of these measures comes in the wake of high-profile cases involving figures like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, underscoring the urgency to reform the system. By enabling a one-year validity period for the LOCs, the Government ensures sustained vigilance.
Furthermore, the incorporation of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act into this framework is a game-changer. It empowers authorities to confiscate properties and proceeds of crime, targeting economic offenders who have fled the country. These comprehensive steps signify a resolute stand by the Government against economic crimes. By closing loopholes and enhancing inter-agency cooperation, the Government is not just targeting individual defaulters but is also reinforcing the larger framework of financial accountability