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|October 29, 1999||
Money Laundering Bill tabled in Lok Sabha, FEMA Bill meets with stiff opposition
The Prevention of Money Laundering Bill 1999 seeking introduction of steps to deal with wealth acquired through narcotics trafficking and other heinous crimes was introduced in the Lok Sabha today by Minister of State for Finance Dhananjaya Kumar.
Moving the bill for introduction, the minister pointed out that the legislation in its present form was an update on its predecessor bill introduced in the last Lok Sabha in August 1998 which could not secure passage due to the dissolution of the house.
He added that the present bill incorporated the recommendations made by the standing committee of Parliament on the earlier bill. In addition, provisions have been incorporated for attachment of such illegally acquired property, acquisition of money kept outside the country and extradition of accused persons from abroad.
Prof Rupchand Pal (CPM) had opposed the introduction as, according to him, the proposed legislative measures condoned the offences already committed and allowed the known criminals to go scot free.
But Dhanajaya Kumar said such things could be considered even at the consideration stage of the bill.
Statement of objects and reasons for the bill explained that the Money Llaundering Bill was motivated by the United Nations resolutions of 1990 and 1998 calling upon countries to enact national legislations to deal with the wealth acquired through drug trafficking and other crimes.
The bill has adequate mechanism to prevent financial institutions from being used for laundering of drug-related money. It also mandates the banks to assist the law enforcement agencies in tackling the problem of money laundering.
Govt forced to defer tabling of FEMA bill
Amid stiff opposition from the Congress and other parties, the government was forced to defer the introduction of the bill to enact the Foreign Exchange and Management Act or FEMA in the Lok Sabha till the winter session of Parliament.
The introduction of the bill was listed in the supplementary list, which was circulated to members minutes before 1800 hrs IST.
Raising the issue during the debate on the motion of thanks for the President's address, Congress Chief Whip P R Dasmunshi said that it was unfortunate that the government has not listed the introduction of the FEMA Bill in agenda and only in the supplementry list circulated late in the evening.
Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who was present in the house, tried to clarify that several members wanted that Prevention of Money Laundering Bill 1999 and FEMA bill should be taken up for consideration together.
''If the members were against the introduction of bill now, the government has no objection,'' he said.
Deputy Speaker P M Sayeed, who was in the chair, informed members that the speaker G M C Balayogi has waived the rules for the introduction of the bill.
In view of continued protest by members, Home Minister L K Advani announced that the bill will be introduced in the next session, likely to commence at the end of next month.
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