Raja second ex-minister to be arrested in 15 years

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NEW DELHI - Disgraced former communications minister A. Raja is the second central ex-minister, after Sukh Ram, to be arrested in the past 15 years. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren was the only serving minister to be held during this period.

Raja, who quit as communications minister Nov 14 last year, was arrested Wednesday for corruption in the 2008 2G spectrum auction, which caused a notional loss of several billion rupees to the government.

Sukh Ram, who served as communications minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao ministry, was arrested Aug 18, 1996, when he was a MP. He was arrested for irregularities in awarding telecom contracts during his earlier stint in the union cabinet.

He was sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment 13 years later 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 trial court also ordered the forfeiture of his assets worth Rs.4.25 crore. The case is still pending in the Delhi High Court after Sukh Ram appealed against the lower court’s verdict.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren, the then union coal minister, was arrested Nov 28, 2006, after a trial court in Delhi convicted him for the murder of his former private secretary Sashinath Jha in May 1994.

Soren, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court, was later acquitted by the Delhi High Court in 2007. He went on to become the chief minister of Jharkhand in 2008.

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