Section 8 in The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018

Title: Search and seizure

Description: (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, where the Director or any other officer not below the rank of Deputy Director authorised by him for the purposes of this section, on the basis of information in his possession, has reason to believe (the reason for such belief to be recorded in writing) that any person— (i) may be declared as a fugitive economic offender; (ii) is in possession of any proceeds of crime; (iii) is in possession of any records which may relate to proceeds of crime; or (iv) is in possession of any property related to proceeds of crime, then, subject to any rules made in this behalf, he may authorise any officer subordinate to him to— (a) enter and search any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft where he has reason to suspect that such records or proceeds of crime are kept; (b) break open the lock of any door, box, locker, safe, almirah or other receptacle for exercising the powers conferred by clause (a) where the keys thereof are not available; (c) seize any record or property found as a result of such search; (d) place marks of identification on such record or property, if required or make or cause to be made extracts or copies therefrom; (e) make a note or an inventory of such record or property; and (f) examine on oath any person, who is found to be in possession or control of any record or property, in respect of all matters relevant for the purposes of any investigation under this Act. (2) Where an authority, upon information obtained during survey under section 7, is satisfied that any evidence shall be or is likely to be concealed or tampered with, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, enter and search the building or place where such evidence is located and seize that evidence.

Title: Search of persons

Description: Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force— (a) if an authority, authorised in this behalf by the Central Government by general or special order, has reason to believe (the reason for such belief to be recorded in writing) that any person has secreted about his person or anything under his possession, ownership or control, any record or proceeds of crime which may be useful for or relevant to any proceedings under this Act, he may search that person and seize such record or property which may be useful for or relevant to any proceedings under this Act; (b) where an authority is about to search any person, he shall, if such person so requires, take such person within twenty-four hours to the nearest Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or a Magistrate: Provided that the period of twenty-four hours shall exclude the time necessary for the journey undertaken to take such person to the nearest Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or the Magistrate's Court; (c) if the requisition under clause (b) is made, the authority shall not detain the person for more than twenty-four hours prior to taking him before the Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or the Magistrate referred to in that clause: Provided that the period of twenty-four hours shall exclude the time necessary for the journey from the place of detention to the office of the Gazetted Officer, superior in rank to him, or the Magistrate's Court; (d) the Gazetted Officer or the Magistrate before whom any such person is brought shall, if he sees no reasonable ground for search, forthwith discharge such person but otherwise shall direct that search be made; (e) before making the search under clause (a) or clause (d), the authority shall call upon two or more persons to attend and witness the search and the search shall be made in the presence of such persons; (f) the authority shall prepare a list of record or property seized in the course of the search and obtain the signatures of the witnesses on the list; (g) no female shall be searched by anyone except a female; and (h) the authority shall record the statement of the person searched under clause (a) or clause (d) in respect of the records or proceeds of crime found or seized in the course of the search.

Title: Notice

Description: (1) Where an application under section 4 has been duly filed, the Special Court shall issue a notice to an individual who is alleged to be a fugitive economic offender. (2) The notice referred to in sub-section (1), shall also be issued to any other person who has any interest in the property mentioned in the application under sub-section (2) of section 4. (3) A notice under sub-section (1) shall— (a) require the individual to appear at a specified place and time not less than six weeks from the date of issue of such notice; and (b) state that failure to appear on the specified place and time shall result in a declaration of the individual as a fugitive economic offender and confiscation of property under this Act. (4) A notice under sub-section (1) shall be forwarded to such authority, as the Central Government may notify, for effecting service in a contracting State. (5) The authority referred to in sub-section (4) shall make efforts to serve the notice within a period of two weeks in such manner as may be prescribed. (6) A notice under sub-section (1) may also be served to the individual alleged to be a fugitive economic offender by electronic means to— (a) his electronic mail address submitted in connection with an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number under section 139A of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961); (b) his electronic mail address submitted in connection with an application for enrolment under section 3 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (18 of 2016); or (c) any other electronic account as may be prescribed, belonging to the individual which is accessed by him over the internet, subject to the satisfaction of the Special Court that such account has been recently accessed by the individual and constitutes a reasonable method for communication of the notice to the individual.

Title: Procedure for hearing application

Description: (1) Where any individual to whom notice has been issued under sub-section (1) of section 10 appears in person at the place and time specified in the notice, the Special Court may terminate the proceedings under this Act. (2) Where any individual to whom notice has been issued under sub-section (1) of section 10 fails to appear at the place and time specified in the notice, but enters appearance through counsel, the Special Court may in its discretion give a period of one week to file a reply to the application under section 4. (3) Where any individual to whom notice has been issued under sub-section (1) of section 10 fails to enter appearance either in person or through counsel, and the Special Court is satisfied— (a) that service of notice has been effected on such party; or (b) that notice could not be served in spite of best efforts because such individual has evaded service of notice, it may, after recording reasons in writing, proceed to hear the application. (4) The Special Court may also give any person to whom notice has been issued under sub-section (2) of section 10 a period of one week to file a reply to the application under section 4.

Title: Declaration of fugitive economic offender

Description: (1) After hearing the application under section 4, if the Special Court is satisfied that an individual is a fugitive economic offender, it may, by an order, declare the individual as a fugitive economic offender for reasons to be recorded in writing. (2) On a declaration under sub-section (1), the Special Court may order that any of the following properties stand confiscated to the Central Government— (a) the proceeds of crime in India or abroad, whether or not such property is owned by the fugitive economic offender; and (b) any other property or benami property in India or abroad, owned by the fugitive economic offender. (3) The confiscation order of the Special Court shall, to the extent possible, identify the properties in India or abroad that constitute proceeds of crime which are to be confiscated and in case such properties cannot be identified, quantify the value of the proceeds of crime. (4) The confiscation order of the Special Court shall separately list any other property owned by the fugitive economic offender in India which is to be confiscated. (5) Where the Special Court has made an order for confiscation of any property under sub-section (2), and such property is in a contracting State, the Special Court may issue a letter of request to a Court or authority in the contracting State for execution of such order. (6) Every letter of request to be transmitted to a contracting State under sub-section (5) shall be transmitted in such form and manner as the Central Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf. (7) The Special Court may, while making the confiscation order, exempt from confiscation any property which is a proceed of crime in which any other person, other than the fugitive economic offender, has an interest if it is satisfied that such interest was acquired bona fide and without knowledge of the fact that the property was proceeds of crime. (8) All the rights and title in the confiscated property shall, from the date of the confiscation order, vest in the Central Government, free from all encumbrances. (9) Where on the conclusion of the proceedings, the Special Court finds that the individual is not a fugitive economic offender, the Special Court shall order release of property or record attached or seized under this Act to the person entitled to receive it. (10) Where an order releasing the property has been made by the Special Court under sub-section (9), the Director or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf may withhold the release of any such property or record for a period of ninety days from the date of receipt of such order, if he is of the opinion that such property is relevant for the appeal proceedings under this Act.