Sukhram gets 5-year jail

Former telecom minister assaulted on court premises

Sukhram gets 5-year jail

Former telecom minister Sukhram being taken into police custody after the special CBI judge ordered his arrest in a corruption case, in New Delhi on Saturday.  PTI

Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge R P Pandey also imposed a fine of Rs 4 lakh on the 86-year-old former minister who held the te­lecom portfolio in P V Narasimha Rao’ s Cabinet.

Sukhram, hailing from Himachal Pradesh, will  be  lodged in Tihar prison’s jail number 1   which also houses former telecom minister A Raja, an accused in the 2G spectrum scam.

Sukhram, whom the prosecutor described as a “habitual offender,” was held guilty on Friday under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Various offences under which he has been convicted entail a maximum sentence of seven years in jail. The former minister was held guilty of misusing his official position during his tenure as Telecom minister in the award of contract worth Rs 30 crore to private firm, Haryana Telecom Limited (HTL) to supply 3.5 Lakh Conductor Kilometers (LCKM) of Polythene Insulated Jelly Filled (PIJF) cables to the telecom department.
The CBI prosecutor said Sukhram will be taken into custody and sent to jail to serve the punishment as the sentence exceeded a three-year jail term and convicts in such cases are not granted statutory bail.

The CBI, in its charge sheet fil­ed in 1998, had accused Su­khram of showing undue favour in awarding the cable sup­ply contract to HTL. Sukhram had been put on trial al­ong with HTL chairman De­vinder Singh Choudhary who died during the process. In 2009, Sukhram had been held guilty of possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs 4.25 crore.

Expelled from Cong

In 2002, Sukhram was awarded a three-year jail term under the Prevention of Corruption Act in a separate case relating to equipment supply that resulted in a loss of Rs 1.66 crore to the state exchequer. He had allegedly provided undue benefits to Rama Rao, Managing Director of Hyderabad-based Advance Radio Masts. A seven-time MLA and a three-time MP, Sukhram, was expelled from the Congress at a time when his son Anil Sharma was a minister in Himachal Pra­d­esh.  In 1997, he floated Himachal Vikas Congress.

He was inducted into the Cabinet of the BJP-HVC government led by Prem Kumar Dhumal on March 24, 1998, but had to resign when  corruption charges were framed against him.

Assaulted

Soon after the court verdict,  Sukhram was manhandled by a Sikh youth who was angry that despite committing “such a crime” he has been jailed only for five years. The youth, Harvinder Singh, slapped and kicked Sukhram before the security officials could detain him, on the court premises.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)