India's federal cabinet on Thursday approved a bill that would allow the government to seize the property of suspected economic criminals who flee abroad and refuse to appear before courts in India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
The cabinet had also approved the constitution of a National Financial Reporting Authority, which would be "an oversight body" monitoring accounting and auditing irregularities, Jaitley said.
The Fugitive Economic Offender's Bill would need to be approved by the Indian Parliament before coming into effect.
Once a court has declared a person "a fugitive offender," all of his or her assets - not merely proceeds or profits of crime - could be confiscated by the government under the new legislation.
"International cooperation mechanisms will also have to put in place so we can confiscate the offenders' assets abroad as well," Jaitley said.
The cabinet's decisions on the measures come in the wake of the discovery of a major fraud at state-run banks involving two high-profile jewellers who left the country in January.
Indian investigators in February contacted Interpol for help in arresting Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who are being investigated in connection with a $1.8bn scandal at India's
second-biggest state-run bank, Punjab National Bank.
Businessman Vijay Mallya, whose Kingfisher Airlines collapsed in 2012 and who is accused of owing more than $1bn to a consortium of banks, also fled to Britain in 2017. The Indian
government is currently involved in efforts to extradite him.
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