Cuttack: The Orissa High Court granted bail to estate agent and director of Metro Builders Peeyush Dhari Mohanty while granting his petition against the Special Vigilance Court’s order sentencing him to three years’ imprisonment in the rural loan fraud case in Odisha.
He also issued a temporary reprieve from the fine of Rs 50,000 imposed on him.
On September 29, the Bhubaneswar court had found Congress MP Md Moquim, former IAS officer and MD Orissa Rural Housing Development Corporation (ORHDC) Vinod Kumar, Mohanty and company secretary Swosti Ranjan Mohapatra guilty of showing undue official favour, criminal misconduct, forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy and obtaining pecuniary benefit for Metro Builders Pvt Ltd by releasing funds in the form of loans for the rural poor.
On October 19, the HC suspended the verdict of the Special Court of Vigilance concerning the Cuttack-Barabati MP in the rural housing scam after the 1999 super cyclone in Odisha and published the next hearing for the 22 February 2023.
Moquim was the former managing director of Metro Builders Pvt Ltd, which was allegedly sanctioned with a term loan of Rs 1.5 crore from the state PSU for its Metro City-II project without board approval ORHDC or loan committee.
Moquim, however, got instant relief and was not sent to prison after his conviction. According to the law, a court of first instance which sentences a person to three years’ imprisonment can grant him immediate release on bail.
The 1989 IAS agent was removed from his post for corruption in February this year. As Chief Executive of ORHDC in 1999, he had sanctioned housing funds to the tune of Rs 33.34 crore through unfair means when rural housing was taken over on a large scale after the Super Cyclone. He was also accused of giving loans to real estate companies/entrepreneurs and NGOs without verifying the construction/reconstruction of houses. Basic inspection, verification and safeguards standards were flouted when disbursing loans in 2000-2001, sources said.