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A Delhi court Saturday sentenced former telecom minister Sukh Ram, 84, to five years rigorous imprisonment for misusing his official position when he was in the P.V. Narasimha Rao cabinet in 1996.

Pronouncing the judgment, Special CBI Judge R.P. Pandey said: “The accused has been awarded five years of rigorous imprisonment.”

The court has also imposed a fine of Rs.400,000 on Sukh Ram.

He was convicted Thursday by the court which found him guilty of accepting a bribe of Rs.3 lakh from a private firm 15 years ago.

The court noted that Sukh Ram misused his ministerial position in awarding a contract worth Rs.30 crore to a private telecom firm for supplying cables to the government at inflated rates that caused huge monetary loss to the state exchequer.

This is the third conviction of Sukh Ram on corruption charges. In 2009, the octogenarian leader was convicted for owning disproportionate assets worth Rs.4.25 crore.

Earlier in 2002, he was sentenced to three years in jail in another corruption case wherein he was held guilty for causing a loss of Rs.1.66 crore to the public exchequer in award of a contract to a Hyderabad-based firm for supplying some equipment to the government using fraudulent means.

The Himachal Pradesh politician, who is currently out on bail, has been convicted for the offences which entail a maximum punishment of a seven-year imprisonment.

The corruption case dates back to 1996, when the telecom ministry under Sukh Ram’s stewardship had awarded private firm Haryana Telecom Limited (HTL) a contract worth Rs.30 crore to supply 3.5 lakh Conductor Kilometres of Polythene Insulated Jelly Filled (PIJF) cables to the telecom department. Sukh Ram had been put on trial along with HTL chairman Devinder Singh Choudhary who died during the trial.

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