Orissa HC stays conviction of Cong MLA in loan fraud case

  • | Wednesday | 19th October, 2022

Cuttack, Oct 19 (PTI) In a relief to Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim, the Orissa High Court Wednesday granted a stay on the execution of a conviction order passed by a special vigilance court, which had last month sentenced the legislator to undergo three years of rigorous imprisonment in a loan scam case.In its 15-page order, a single-judge bench of Justice B P Routray said keeping in view Moquim’s position as an MLA the loss that may befall him due to conviction would be irreparable, unless the conviction is stayed.“This will also lead to an untimely bye-election which will burden the public exchequer. Further considering the limited period of his sentence for three years and the offences involved, which are neither punishable with death or life imprisonment, it is felt apposite to grant a stay of the conviction pending appeal”, Justice Routray said.The Barabati-Cuttack MLA will now be able to retain his membership in the Odisha Assembly for the remaining period of his term that had begun on May 23, 2019, his lawyer Pitambar Acharya told reporters.Moquim, an engineer by profession, was heading a construction company in 2000 when his firm was illegally awarded a loan of Rs 1.5 crore by the state-run Odisha Rural Housing Development Corporation (OHRDC).The loan was disbursed in a hurry intending to bring pecuniary loss to OHRDC for which Moquim and four others, including a dismissed IAS officer, were convicted by the vigilance court.Moquim was sentenced by the Special Vigilance Court, Bhubaneswar, to undergo three years jail term and Rs 50,000 fine for each offence.The first time MLA had filed an appeal in the High Court with three interlocutory applications praying for bail pending appeal, a stay on the realisation of the fine, and a suspension of the conviction.The High Court had earlier allowed his first two appeals and completed the hearing on the third appeal on October 10.The court has fixed February 22, 2023 as the date of hearing of the primary petition in the case. PTI COR AAM MM MM

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