SC to hear bail plea of Sukh Ram, others tomorrow

New Delhi: The bail pleas of former Union minister Sukh Ram, who surrendered and was sent to jail to undergo a three-year term in the 1993 telecom scam, will be taken up tomorrow in the Supreme Court.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam, would also hear the bail plea of veteran politician`s co-accused former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao. The bench had earlier on January 5 refused to entertain their appeal against the Delhi High Court`s order convicting them in the scam and awarded three years jail term for Sukh Ram and Rao and two years of imprisonment for Ghosh.

The bench had said that it would hear their plea only after they comply with the high court`s order and surrender before a trial court to undergo sentence. Thereafter, Ghosh and Rao had surrendered on the same day. Sukh Ram initially evaded surrendering on health grounds saying he is hospitalised but two days after he appeared in the trial court, he was sent to jail.

Earlier on December 21 last year, the high court had upheld the lower court`s 2002 judgement holding Sukh Ram, Ghosh and Rao guilty of being part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state exchequer by awarding a telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad`s Advanced Radio Masts which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT.

Sukh Ram was telecom minister between January 18, 1993 and May 16, 1996, in the Narasimha Rao government. The CBI had filed the charge sheet in March 1997, accusing Sukh Ram and Ghosh of entering into a criminal conspiracy with Rao.

Subsequent to the registration of various cases, the CBI, in 1996, had seized Rs 3.6 crore in cash which was concealed in bags and suitcases from Sukh Ram`s residence.