Supreme Court grants Odisha MLA Moquim interim relief in loan scam conviction

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Bhubaneswar, (Reporterspen) April 23: Odisha Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim received a significant reprieve as the Supreme Court suspended his sentence in a Rs 1.50 crore loan scam case on Tuesday.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta entertained Moquim’s special leave petition challenging the Orissa High Court’s decision, which upheld his conviction and the trial court’s findings.
Last week, the apex court exempted the Congress legislator from surrendering until the next hearing, providing interim relief. Earlier, the Orissa High Court, under Justice B.R. Routray, declined to intervene in the sentence issued by the special vigilance court, citing the severity of the sentence and the nature of the offenses.

In September 2022, a special vigilance court in Bhubaneswar convicted Moquim, along with former IAS officer Vinod Kumar, former ORHDC Company Secretary Swosti Ranjan Mohapatra, and Metro Builders Pvt Ltd Director Peeyusdhari Mohanty, sentencing them to three years in jail.

According to Vigilance officials, Vinod Kumar and Swosti Ranjan had approved a Rs 1.50 crore loan to Metro Builders for the Metro City-II project in 2000, overseen by Moquim, then the Managing Director of Metro Builders.

The loan was sanctioned and disbursed in three installments at Vinod Kumar’s direction, despite procedural irregularities highlighted by vigilance officials, including forgery and lack of verification.
The investigation revealed forged documents submitted by Metro Builders for loan approval, underscoring systemic lapses in the approval process.

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