Ex-minister Raja’s arrest not first in telecom ministry

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NEW DELHI - The arrest of a former minister and top brass in corruption case is not new to the communications ministry.

Sukh Ram, minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao ministry, was arrested Aug 18, 1996, when he was a parliament member. The arrest was for irregularities in awarding telecom contracts during his earlier ministerial tenure.

The United Front government headed by H.D. Deve Gowda was in power when Sukh Ram was arrested.

He was convicted 13 years later to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and was slapped with a fine of Rs.2 lakh Feb 25, 2009, by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in New Delhi.

The court also ordered the forfeiture of his Rs.4.25 crore assets.

However, the case is still pending with the Delhi High Court with Sukhram going for appeal.

Sukh Ram’s arrest happened amidst dramatic scenes after the CBI raided his Safdarjung Lane official residence in New Delhi and his house in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, Aug 16, 1996.

Currency worth Rs 2.45 crore, alleged to be kickbacks from the contract, was recovered from the Delhi house while Rs 1.16 crore was found from the Mandi house.

Sukh Ram was arrested two days later.

The case proceedings, which began in 2001, also hit headlines with Narasimha Rao, then former prime minister, recoding his testimony as a witness in the case. However, 16 of the 64 prosecution witnesses favoured Sukh Ram.

Sukh Ram (84) lives in his ancestral place in Mandi and claims to have “distanced from politics”.

However, the family mantle in politics has been carried forward by his son Anil Sharma, who is a state Congress legislator.

–Indo-Asian News Service

Filed under: Politics

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