47-year-old Mohammad Yahya is an economic offender who had fled to Bahrain.
If one goes by the track record of such offenders, the public sector banks that he looted should just write off the debts as bad debts. (A bad debt is one that cannot be recovered.)
Who is Mohammad Yahya?
Mohammad was born and raised in Bengaluru and is known to have cheated a couple of public sector banks with a sum of Rs 46 lakh in 2003. While this amount can seem as a mere drop in the ocean, in comparison to the amounts other offenders have been alleged of not repaying, Mohammad is the first economic fugitive to be brought back to India.
In 2009, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) started investigating the offence, but by then, Mohammad had fled the country.
The bureau has charged him for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, impersonation and forgery for taking a loan from public sector banks and “deliberately” not repaying it.
Earlier this year, following a spate of such offenders leaving the country, the Union Cabinet approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017.
Who is a Fugitive Economic Offender?
According to Section 4 of the law, a ‘fugitive economic offender’ is “any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India, who:
(i) leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or
(ii) refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.”
According to The Times of India, the government had recently shared a list of 28 fugitive economic offenders including six women who were living abroad.
The investigating agencies are already pursuing the extradition of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who have fled with amounts ranging from Rs 6,000 crore to Rs 9,000 crore.
While this certainly is a step in the right direction, one hopes that the agencies do not stop with just making an example out of Mohammad Yahya.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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