Orissa High Court Upholds Conviction of Senior Congress MLA in Corruption Case

Orissa High Court upholds corruption conviction of senior Congress MLA Md. Moquim, affirming three-year imprisonment in ORHDC case.

The Orissa High Court has upheld the verdict sentencing Md. Moquim, a senior Congress MLA, to three years in prison in the Odisha Rural Housing and Development Corporation Limited (ORHDC) corruption case. This decision has sparked concerns about Moquim's political future ahead of the 2024 elections.

In a statement, the Odisha vigilance confirmed, "The High Court, Orissa, has upheld the judgment of conviction passed by Special Judge, Vigilance, Bhubaneswar against Md. Moquim, managing director, M/s Metro Builders Pvt. Ltd. in the vigilance corruption case. It has dismissed the appeal filed by Moquim."

The vigilance disclosed that on September 29, 2022, Md. Moquim was convicted by the special judge, vigilance, Bhubaneswar, for obtaining financial benefits for his company, M/s. Metro Builders Pvt. Ltd., under the guise of loans meant for rural development from ORHDC.

Reports suggest that ORHDC had granted loans worth Rs 1.5 crore to Metro Builders in 2000-2001 for constructing 50 flats. However, Metro Builders obtained these loans using forged documents without executing a tripartite agreement. Their fraudulent actions resulted in significant losses to the state exchequer and wrongful gains for the builder.

Moquim was sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 50,000, with an additional six months of imprisonment in case of non-payment. However, he obtained interim bail from the Orissa High Court on a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties.

According to the vigilance, Moquim appealed against the conviction order, but the High Court dismissed his appeal, affirming the lower court's decision. The court had previously punished the former managing director of ORHDC, Vinod Kumar, and other employees involved in the case.