CBI sees surge in extradition & asset recovery, credits Economic Offenders Act
Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said that assets worth more than USD 1.8 billion have been recovered from economic offenders and fugitives in the last about four years. Addressing an event at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in New Delhi, he said there has been a quantum jump in the extradition of criminals and fugitives in recent years, especially after India hosted the 90th Interpol General Assembly in October 2022.
Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said 19 criminals/ fugitives have returned to India this year so far, whereas previously, on average around 10 of them have returned to India every year. The figure stood at 27 in 2022 and 18 in 2021. “Over 1.8 billion US dollars worth of assets have been recovered from economic offenders and fugitives in the last about four years, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in the Economic Offenders Act, while the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has helped in attaching the assets of offenders worth more than 12 billion US dollars since 2014,” Singh was quoted as having said in a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry.
In his inaugural address at the first-ever “International Day of Police Cooperation” after conferring Indian Police Medals on distinguished CBI officers at an investiture ceremony at the agency’s head office, he said the Modi government is aggressively pursuing economic offenders and informed about the recovery and attachment of huge assets from economic offenders, fugitives and money launderers.
Singh said that 2023 is the diamond jubilee year of CBI and in its 60 years of existence, it has emerged as India’s premier investigation and anti-corruption agency and internally evolved as a capable organization to handle investigations ranging from bribery and corruption, sensational and complicated cases handed over by states and constitutional courts, economic offences, and banking frauds. “On account of its sheer professionalism and integrity, this bureau has gained the confidence of the executive, judiciary, legislature, and the common people,” the Minister said.
Singh said the litmus test for any organization is to win the trust of the people and added that CBI has not only gained the trust of the public, but by keeping pace with the fast-changing socio-economic and technical milieu, it has also established niche specialized investigative units to handle investigations pertaining to online child sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking in human beings, drugs, wildlife, cultural properties, and crimes in digital space.
“Needless to say the basic principles in fighting crime will never change and stronger international police cooperation in the proposed framework will ensure that police all around the world are connected,” he said. Singh also gave away police medals to CBI officers and congratulated the awardees and their family members.
He said that the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 2022, adopted a historic resolution to designate September 7 as the International Day of Police Cooperation, to be observed starting in 2023. The resolution emphasizes “the need to strengthen international cooperation at the global, regional and sub-regional levels in various areas related to preventing and combating transnational crime, in particular transnational organized crime, and preventing and countering terrorism”.
The selected date for the annual observance on September 7 coincides with the date when Interpol’s predecessor the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) was created in 1923, he said. Earlier speaking on the occasion, CBI Director Praveen Sood said the agency as the national central bureau for Interpol has played an important role in facilitating the resolution of complex investigation cases, availability of evidence from abroad, and extradition/ deportation of criminals/ fugitives.
He said the CBI has kept pace with the rapidly evolving challenges of crime, changes in technologies, and global policing practices. Sood said that as a result of growing international police cooperation, there has been a significant increase in the return of criminals and fugitives from abroad. CBI Chief said two important sessions on “Leveraging Interpol’s Operation Capabilities” and “Utilization of MHA Portal for International Mutual Legal Assistance” are being held as part of the 9th Interpol Liaison Officers Conference on the occasion of International Day of Police Cooperation.
[with PTI inputs]
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