Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Sukhram jailed

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Former Telecom Minister sentenced to five-years’ rigorous imprisonment in 15-yr-old graft case

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday sentenced former telecom minister Sukh Ram, 84, to five years rigorous imprisonment for misusing his official position when he was in the PV Narasimha Rao cabinet in 1996. This was his third conviction on corruption charges.

Pronouncing the judgment, Special CBI Judge RP Pandey said: “After giving much thoughtful consideration to all the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, I sentence convict Sukh Ram to under go rigorous imprisonment for five years for offence committed by him under 13 (1) (d) read with section 13 d of the Prevention of Corruption Act.”

The court has also imposed a fine of Rs 4 lakh on him.

“The court cannot remain oblivious to the fact of shaken public confidence in the efficacy of law to deal with corruption, particularly when it is the question of tackling the corruption case of high ranking public servants such as ministers and therefore the court can not afford to be excessive lenient with such convicts,” the judge observed.

Sukh Ram was convicted on Thursday by the court which found him guilty of accepting a bribe of Rs 3 lakh from a private firm 15 years ago.

The court noted that Sukh Ram misused his ministerial position in awarding a contract worth Rs 30 crore to a private telecom firm for supplying cables to the government at inflated rates that caused huge monetary loss to the state exchequer.

The corruption case dates back to 1996, when the ministry awarded private firm, Haryana Telecom Limited (HTL), a contract worth Rs 30 crore to supply 3.5 lakh km of polythene insulated jelly filled (PIJF) cables to the telecom department.

Meanwhile, Sukh Ram said he was a victim of a political conspiracy and would seek justice from a higher court. (IANS)

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