NEW DELHI: Over 1.8 billion US Dollar worth 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.
This was disclosed here today by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in his inaugural address at the first-ever “International Day of Police Cooperation” after conferring Indian Police Medals to distinguished CBI officers at an Investiture Ceremony at CBI Headquarters here.
The Minister said, there has been a quantum jump in extradition of criminals and fugitives in recent years especially after India hosted 90th Interpol General Assembly in October 2022.
He said, while this year so far 19 criminals/fugitives have returned to India, in the previous years, on an average around 10 criminals/fugitives have returned to India with 27 returning in 2022 and 18 in 2021.
Dr Jitendra Singh underlined that the marked increase in the return of criminals/fugitives to India, is the result of enhanced cooperation policing between India and other countries pursuant to the 90th Interpol General Assembly held in October 2022 in Delhi, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking about the enactment of the Economic Offenders Act in 2018, Dr Jitendra Singh said, Modi Government is aggressively pursuing economic offenders and informed about the recovery of assets worth over 1.8 billion dollars from economic offenders and fugitives. He also mentioned the Prevention of Money Laundering Act has helped in attaching the assets of offenders worth more than 12 billion dollars since 2014.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is unique providential co-incidence that G20 Summit is happening tomorrow and the Ministry of Personnel has already deliberated the Anti-Corruption Working Group Meets in Gurugram, Rishikesh and Kolkata and there is forward movement in areas like action-oriented High-Level Principles on three priority areas, namely, law enforcement cooperation through information sharing, strengthening asset recovery mechanisms, and enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of anti-corruption authorities.
Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that it was Prime Minister Modi, who presented a nine-point agenda for action against Fugitive Economic Offenders and Asset Recovery at the G-20 Summit in 2018 and expressed happiness that decisive steps are being taken by the working group.
Dr Jitendra Singh was happy to note that the United Nations General Assembly on 16th December, 2022 adopted a historic resolution to designate 7th September 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 annual observance on 7th September, coincides with the date when INTERPOL’s predecessor the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) was created in 1923, he noted.
The Minister was informed that a special theme of the inaugural International Day of Police Cooperation is the recognition of the vital importance of women in policing. INTERPOL is observing its Centenary year in 2023 and is the world’s largest police organization with 195 member countries.
Dwelling on the brief history of the premier investigative agency, Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that from a quiet beginning in 1941 as Special Police Establishment with a mandate to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions pertaining to War and Supply Department of the Government of India, Central Bureau of Investigation was established as a full-fledged anti-corruption body of India in 1963.
The Minister was pleased to note that 2023 is the Diamond Jubilee Year of CBI and in its 60 years of existence, CBI 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 man.
Dr Jitendra Singh said the litmus test for any organization is win the trust of the people and added that CBI has not only gained the trust of public, but keeping pace with the fast changing socio-economic and technical milieu, it has also established niche specialized investigative units to handle investigations pertaining to On-line Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, Trafficking in human beings, drugs, wild life, cultural properties, and crimes in digital space.
“Needless to say that 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”. This needs to be a guiding principle when we confront the challenges of fighting crime and security challenges in the 21st Century, the Minister added.
Dr Jitendra Singh gave away medals to meritorious staff and officers and congratulated the awardees and their family members and wished all the best to CBI and its officers.