Delhi HC grants bail to ex-telecom minister

New Delhi: In a relief for former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram, the Delhi High Court today suspended the five year sentence awarded to him in a graft case and granted him bail.
A bench of justice Suresh Kait suspended the sentence keeping in view his old age and various ailments. "I suspend the sentence till disposal of case," the court said.

The court released him on bail considering that he is an 86-year-old heart patient and keeping in view the medical report submitted by the Tihar Jail authorities, which said he suffered from heart diseases and cervical spondylitis.

It directed Sukh Ram to furnish two sureties of Rs 10 lakh and asked him not to leave the country without the prior permission of the court. The CBI had opposed his bail, saying he has been convicted twice earlier and is a habitual offender.

Sukh Ram, who had held the Telecom portfolio in P V Narasimha Rao`s cabinet, was convicted on November 17 in a cable contract case. He was handed out five years jail term by Special CBI judge R P Pandey on November 19 and sent to jail.

He was convicted for misusing his official position during his tenure as Telecom Minister in award of a contract worth Rs 30 crore to Haryana Telecom Limited (HTL), a private firm, to supply 3.5 lakh conductor kilometres (LCKM) of PIJF cables to the telecom department after taking Rs 3 lakh as bribe.

Sukh Ram had earlier been convicted in two separate corruption cases in 2002 and 2009 but remained out of jail after suspension of his sentence.