Sukh Ram challenges conviction, sentence in graft case

New Delhi : Jailed former telecom minister Sukh Ram approached the Delhi High Court Wednesday challenging his conviction and five years’ rigorous imprisonment awarded by a trial court here for misusing his official position when he was in the P.V. Narasimha Rao cabinet. This was his third conviction on graft charges.

The former minister approached the court seeking relief on the ground that he was suffering from health problems. He said the trial court’s order should be set aside, a lawyer said.

Eightysix-year-old Sukh Ram, who held the telecom portfolio in the P.V. Narasimha Rao-led Congress government, was convicted Nov 19 for taking Rs.3 lakh as bribe to award a cable contract to a telecom firm in 1996.

He was handed down a five-year jail term by Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge R.P. Pandey and sent to jail. The court also imposed Rs.4 lakh fine on him.

“A petition on behalf of Sukh Ram against his conviction and sentencing was filed in the high court’s registry,” said a lawyer.

Sukh Ram was earlier convicted in two separate corruption cases in 2002 and 2009 but remained out of jail.

“The octogenarian convict has already reaped the dividend of a long-drawn process of law and 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 strengthens the popular belief that one can earn money by corrupt means and enjoy its fruits by spending some portion of it,” said the trial court order delivered Nov 19.

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