1996 telecom scam: Sukhram gets 5 years jail

86-year-old Sukh Ram, who had held the Telecom portfolio in PV Narasimha Rao`s cabinet was convicted in a cable contract case.

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram,
who was convicted in two corruption cases but was still free,
was on Saturday awarded five years imprisonment by a Delhi court in
a 1996 corruption case, after which he was arrested and taken
to Tihar jail.

86-year-old Sukh Ram, who had held the Telecom portfolio
in P V Narasimha Rao`s cabinet and was convicted on Thursday
in a cable contract case for taking Rs 3 lakh bribe, was
handed out five years jail term by Special CBI judge R P
Pandey who also imposed a fine of Rs four lakh on him.

To add to his humiliation, a person attacked the veteran
politician from Himachal Pradesh minutes after his arrest was
ordered by the court.

"The octogenarian convict has already reaped the dividend
of a long-drawn process of law and as despite having been
convicted in two other corruption cases, he is enjoying
freedom, which is passing a wrong message to the public at
large and strengthen the popular belief that one can earn
money by corrupt means and enjoy its fruits by spending some
portion of it," the court said.
The non-arrest of Sukh Ram, despite his convictions in
two cases, and the plea of protracted trial did not get him
any relief as the court took an adverse view of the arguments,
saying they are rather aggravating circumstances which
warranted his forthwith arrest.

Besides the present case, Sukh Ram was awarded a
three-year jail term in 2002 in a case lodged under the
Prevention of Corruption Act relatinng to equipment supply
that resulted in a loss of Rs 1.66 crore to the state

He was convicted and sentenced to three years jail in
2009 for possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs 4.25
crore. He, however, remained out of jail after being granted
statutory bail in both the cases.

The court, in its 11-page order on the quantum of
sentence, said though the advanced age of Sukh Ram was a
factor but other aggravating circumstances such as his
remaining out of jail cannot be overlooked as it would send a
wrong message to the society.
"I have reached an opinion that while the age of the
convict is certainly a mitigating factor, his previous
conviction in two other corruption cases is an aggravating
circumstance which has to be considered while fixing the
quantum of sentence.

"Sukhram was holding a very high position of respect and
trust as he was a Member of Parliament and Minister of State
for Communication when he committed the offence of criminal
conspiracy and corruption. The corrupt public servant is a
menace to the society and brings the society and his office
into disrepute," it said.


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