Ramakanta Biswas

In a major relief to Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim, the Orissa High Court on Monday accepted his petition challenging jail term awarded to him by a vigilance case in a corruption case and granted him bail.

While granting the bail, the HC asked the Barabati-Cuttack MLA to furnish a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties. The court has also stayed the penalty imposed on the legislator in the Odisha Rural Housing & Development Corporation (ORHDC) corruption case.

During the hearing, the vigilance informed the court about the conviction of the MLA in the case. The next hearing has been scheduled on October 13.

The Congress leader was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by a special vigilance court in ORHDC corruption case last month. The court of Special Judge (Vigilance), Bhubaneswar had also sentenced former IAS officer and Managing Director of ORHDC, Vinod Kumar, Company Secretary, ORHDC Swosti Ranjan Mohapatra, and realtor Peeyus Mohanty, Director, Metro Builders Pvt Ltd to three years jail.

The special vigilance judge had pronounced the verdict after examining 17 witnesses. The court had also imposed Rs 50,000 penalty on each convicts and ruled that they would undergo an additional six months rigorous imprisonment in case of default in payment. 

According to the case diary, Vinod Kumar and Swosti Ranjan had sanctioned loan of Rs 150L to Metro Builders Pvt Ltd for Metro City-II project at Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar for construction of 50 flats. 

At that time, Vinod Kumar was not delegated with any financial power for sanction and disbursement of loan by the Board of Directors of ORHDC.