A Delhi court Thursday put off by a day former telecom minister Sukh Ram’s surrender in the 1996 equipment purchase scam. The 84-year-old ex-minister could not appear in court as he is undergoing treatment at a hospital here.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Dharmesh Sharma ordered two other convicts, former deputy director-general of the department of telecommunications Runu Ghosh and managing director of Hyderabad-based firm Advanced Radio Masts P. Rama Rao, to be taken into custody after they surrendered in court.
The court said Sukh Ram’s plea that he be taken into judicial custody at the hospital would be heard Friday by CBI Special Judge Sanjiv Jain, who was on leave Thursday.
Sukh Ram’s counsel said that he could not surrender as he was undergoing medical treatment following angiography.
“According to the judicial process, I am not inclined to pass any order on this matter,” said Judge Dharmesh Sharma.
Before the trial court hearing, the Supreme Court directed Sukh Ram and the other two convicts to appear and surrender in the trial court.
The Delhi High Court Dec 21 asked the three convicts to surrender forthwith before the trial court to serve the sentence.
“The order on sentence impugned in all these appeals are… affirmed and left undisturbed. The appellants shall surrender and serve their sentences; they shall appear before the trial court for this purpose Jan 5, 2012,” the high court said.
The 1996 telecom scam involved award of a contract to the Hyderabad firm for supplying telecom equipment to the government at exorbitant rates.
Sukh Ram was accused of showing undue favour to a cable supply company in 1996 and accepting Rs.3 lakh bribe, along with an accomplice.
In 2002, Sukh Ram was awarded a three-year jail term under the Prevention of Corruption Act in a separate case related to causing a loss of Rs.1.66 crore to the exchequer.
In another case, Sukh Ram was held guilty of possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs.4.25 crore in 2009.