Vikash Sharma

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to senior Congress leader Mohammad Moquim in connection with the Orissa Rural Housing Development Corporation (ORHDC) loan fraud case. The development assumes significance for Moquim as well as the Odisha Congress as the party is yet to announce its candidate for the prestigious Barabati-Cuttack seat which Moquim had won after defeating BJD heavyweight Debasish Samantray in the last elections.

Moquim had earlier moved Supreme Court after Orissa High Court upheld the conviction of the Congress MLA from Cuttack-Barabati constituency. The Special Judge (Vigilance), Bhubaneswar had awarded rigorous imprisonment for three years to Moquim in the ORHDC case.

Read More | Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim gets interim relief from Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has also accepted the Congress leader’s petition for hearing the bail petition and a notice has been issued to Odisha Vigilance in the matter.

Can Moquim Contest 2024 Elections?

After the Supreme Court’s order, speculations are now rife over the senior Congress leader Mohammad Moquim’s next move and whether he could contest the upcoming 2024 elections. Though the Apex Court has granted bail, there is no clarity on whether he can contest in the 2024 elections or not. 

Moquim’s advocate Pitambar Acharya said, “Mohammad Moqium had filed SLP in Supreme Court challenging the Lower Court’s verdict. The Apex Court admitted the SLP along with a stay order on the 3-year jail term. We had moved the Supreme Court citing irregularities in the factual evidence submitted by the Vigilance and after hearing our side, the Court has admitted the SLP.”

According to Acharya, conviction stay happens only in the rarest of rare cases and the Vigilance statement is politically motivated.
In his reaction, Mohammad Moquim said, “I thank the Supreme Court and we had faith in the judiciary. Only after the final hearing, the truth will come out.”

According to Moquim, fighting elections is not a question as a lot of people want to serve society.


A Special Vigilance Court had sentenced a three-year jail term to the Barabati-Cuttack MLA Mohammad Moquim in September 2022. Moquim soon got interim bail from Orissa High Court on a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties.

Moquim, the managing director of Metro Builders Pvt Ltd, former IAS officer Vinod Kumar and others were earlier convicted by the Vigilance Court for allegedly obtaining pecuniary advantage in favour of the Congress leader's company in guide of loans meant for rural poor from ORHDC.

Also Read | SC stays Orissa High Court order nullifying MLA Mohammed Moquim's 2019 election

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