HC notice to CBI on Sukh Ram`s plea in graft case
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought CBI`s response on former telecom minister Sukh Ram`s appeal challenging his conviction and sentencing by a trial court for taking bribe to award a contract to a telecom firm in 1996.
The court also sought 86-year-old Sukh Ram`s medical report on his plea for suspension of sentence on health grounds and old age.
Justice Suresh Kait issued notice to CBI and sought its response by November 28.
Appearing for Sukh Ram, senior counsel Arvind Nigam argued that trial court has convicted his client merely on the basis of "speculation".
Sukh Ram, who had held the Telecom portfolio in PV Narasimha Rao`s cabinet, was convicted on November 17 in a cable contract case. He was handed out five years jail term by Special CBI judge RP Pandey on November 19 and sent to jail.
Referring to the trial court`s judgement in which the judge had relied on circumstantial evidence, the counsel stated that the court had ignored the fact that CBI had failed to seize the envelope in which the money was kept.
He argued that despite some prosecution witnesses not supporting the CBI`s claim that six bundles of Rs 500 denomination (Rs three lakh) along with a visiting card was kept in the envelope, the trial judge held Sukh Ram guilty.
"The entire claim of CBI about the money and the visiting card contained in the envelope was bogus. Neither the currency nor the envelope was produced before the trial court," Nigam submitted.
The lawyer also argued for suspension of Sukh Ram`s sentence and his immediate release on bail on health grounds.
Claiming that Sukh Ram is on regular insulin as per the doctor`s advice, the counsel said that the trial court has ignored the medical documents furnished to him while awarding the sentence to the accused.
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