Creating a huge burden on financial institutions, a total of 38 businessmen turned economic offenders have fled the country since January 2015. All of these business tycoons have been named in bank fraud cases being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and now living in foreign countries.
According to government data, last year alone 11 such businessmen became fugitive and sneaked out of the country.
Responding to a question by lawmaker Dean Kuriakose, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur, has said that, “Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has apprised that 38 persons involved in the cases registered by CBI related to financial irregularities with banks fled the country during 1.1.2015 to 31.12.2019.”
The Minister of State has also added that Enforcement Directorate has gone to the Interpol for Red Corner Notices against 20 people and extradition requests were sent in respect of 14 people to various countries while applications under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 have been filed against 11 people. The government has not given the quantum of the fraud committed by these fugitives.
The long list of fugitives includes Vijay Mallya accused of defrauding banks of ₹ 9,000 crore; Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and family accused of ₹ 12,000 crore fraud and the Sandesaras accused of a ₹ 15,000 crore fraud.
Ministry of Finance also informed the members of the Lok Sabha that along with the action initiated by the law enforcement agencies, a slew of policy measures have now been implemented for preventing businessmen and individuals from fraudulently obtaining loans and then fleeing the country.
Thakur said that measures included Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, under which banks have been directed to make submission of a certified copy of the passport of promoters/directors of companies. It is mandatory for those availing of loans of more than Rs 50 crore.
As per RBI’s instructions, wilful defaulters are not sanctioned any additional facilities by banks or financial institutions, and their unit is debarred from floating new ventures for five years.
The govt also listed tough measures taken by the Securities and Exchange Board of India like the Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2016, barring companies with wilful defaulters as promoters/directors from accessing capital markets to raise funds.
As per data reported by nationalised banks, an amount of Rs 7,654 crore has been recovered from wilful defaulter accounts between 2014-2019.
List of Offenders
Sudhir Kumar Kalra
Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara
Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara
Diptiben Chetankumar Sandesara
Hitesh Narendrabhai Patel
Priti Ashish Jobanputra