Court convicts Sukh Ram in 1996 telecom case

Holding Sukhram guilty of the offences punishable under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge R.P. Pandey said: "The accused (Sukh Ram) is convicted under various provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code."

The court which is likely to pronounce its verdict Saturday against Sukh Ram said: "The facts and circumstances show that because of proximity of co-accused D.S. Choudhary (since expired) with Sukh Ram, M/s HTL was his most favoured vendor."

Sukh Ram was alleged to have been giving undue favour to a cable supply company in 1996. The CBI, in its charge sheet filed in 1998, had accused Sukh Ram and another person of allegedly showing undue favour in supply of excess quantity of cable and acceptance of Rs.3 lakh.

In 2009, Sukh Ram was held guilty of possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs.4.25 crore. In 2002, he was awarded a three-year jail term under the Prevention of Corruption Act in an equipment supply case for causing a loss of Rs.1.66 crore to the state exchequer. He had allegedly caused undue benefits to Rama Rao, managing director of Hyderabad-based Advance Radio Masts.

The special judge also said though there was no direct evidence to prove the existence of conspiracy between Sukh Ram and Choudhary, "it is a well-known fact that conspiracy is hatched in privacy and secrecy, for which direct evidence would be rarely available".

The court said that the note prepared by an official of the department on Oct 8, 1995 had mentioned the "precarious" position of HTL and another firm and it was proposed not to award it the contract to supply cables in excess of its ability.

But, despite that Sukh Ram had passed an order to give the contract to HTL for supplying additional cables, it added. The court noted that Sukh Ram again on May 8, 1996 gave a contract to HTL for supplying even more cables overruling a suggestion against it. The suggestion was duly endorsed by the Telecom Commission.

Earlier in 2009, Sukh Ram had been held guilty of owning disproportionate assets worth Rs.4.25 crore. In 2002, he was sentenced to three years in jail in another corruption case causing a loss of Rs.1.66 crore to public exchequer in award of a contract to a Hyderabad-based firm, Advance Radio Masts for supplying some equipment to the government in collusion with the firm Managing Director Rama Rao. Sukh Ram is currently out on bail.

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