Odisha MLA Md. Moquim moves High Court against conviction in ORHDC loan scam

Cuttack: Barabati-Cuttack Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim has approached the Orissa High Court against his conviction by a Special Vigilance Court in Bhubaneswar in connection with a loan scam in Odisha Rural Housing Development Corporation (ORHDC).

Moquim moved the High Court seeking suspension of his conviction in the loan scam. Senior advocate Pitambar Acharya is pleading the case on behalf of Moqium.

Earlier, the Special Vigilance Court had awarded three years of rigorous imprisonment to Moqium in connection with the loan scam. Moquim was working as the Managing Director of Metro Builders Private Limited during the scam.

Vigilance Special Judge Satya Narayan Sarangi also announced three years of rigorous imprisonment for former IAS officer Vinod Kumar, Metro Builders Private Limited director Peeyushdhari Mohanty and former company secretary of ORHDC Swosti Ranjan Mohapatra in connection with the scam.

The court convicted the four accused persons and Metro Builders Private Limited under Section 13 (2) r/w 13(I) (D) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and Section 120-B/468/471 of the IPC.

The court imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 each on the convicted persons. Non-payment of the penalty amount would invite another six months of jail term.

As per the court proceedings, Vinod Kumar was the MD of ORHDC from January 4, 2000 to May 15, 2001 while Mohapatra was the Company Secretary of the corporation.

On June 24, 2000, Metro Builders Pvt Limited had applied for term loans to the tune of Rs 1.5 crore for Metro City-II project at Nayapalli in the Capital City for construction of 50 flats.

Kumar, in his capacity as the MD of ORHDC, sanctioned and disbursed the amount in three installments in favour of Metro Builders Pvt Ltd between July 6 and August 28, 2000.

However, Vinod Kumar had not been delegated with any financial power for sanction and disbursement of loan by the Board of Directors of ORHDC. Even, he did not have the authority to sign cheques.

Kumar in connivance with Mohapatra sanctioned and disbursed the loan amount by showing undue favour to the builder.

The loan proposal was neither placed before the Board of Directors of ORHDC nor the loan committee for appraisal and approval. No spot verification was made before processing of the loan application and during the disbursement of the loan amount. The loan documents like Income Tax returns, BDA plan for the project, project estimate and fire prevention certificate were not verified properly before sanction of the loan.

During investigation, it came to the fore that Metro Builders Pvt Ltd had submitted forged and fabricated documents like BDA plan, project estimate and fire prevention certificate for availing the loan.

Moreover, the loan was disbursed without adequate security. Similarly, no tripartite agreement was executed between the parties. As on October 31, 2007, the outstanding loan amount against Metro Builders was Rs 6.22 crore.

“All the accused persons by hatching criminal conspiracy caused huge loss to the government and thereby caused wrongful gain to the builder,” observed the Vigilance Special Judge.

During the trial, the prosecution has examined as many as seventeen witnesses and relevant documents to substantiate the charges against the accused persons.

Notably, Vinod Kumar was dismissed from service in February this year.

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