The Supreme Court on Monday granted interim bail to former Union Minister Sukh Ram, who surrendered before a trial court on Saturday to serve his three year sentence in the 1993 telecom scam case.
Former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao too were granted interim bail by the apex court till January 16, when their pleas for regular bail in the case were slated for hearing.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar granted bail to them, saying the trial court will impose the requisite condition to its satisfaction for giving them the relief.
On the bail pleas by the trio, the apex court also issued notices to the CBI and sought its reply by January 16.
Soon after reaching Tihar Jail on Saturday last, Mr. Sukh Ram had to be moved ICU of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital after doctors found his condition had deteriorated.
Senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the three convicts respectively and submitted that they have been on bail for last 20 years and there was no fear of them running away.
Subramaniam, appearing for Mr. Sukh Ram, said the former minister was 86-year-old and the court should take this into account while granting him bail.
The bench had earlier on January 5 refused to entertain their appeals against the Delhi High Court’s order upholding their convictions in the scam and their sentences -- three year jail terms for Mr. Sukh Ram and Rao and two years for Ghosh.
The apex court bench had said it would hear their pleas against their conviction and sentences only after they comply with the high court’s order and surrender before the trial court to serve their sentences. Ghosh and Rao had surrendered on the same day.
Mr. Sukh Ram, however, evaded surrendering on health ground with one of his counsel claiming before the trial court on Friday last that his client had slipped into coma.
However, the former minister reached the court premises in an ambulance the next day and surrendered before the court which had threatened non-bailable warrant against him.
Soon after reaching Tihar Jail in the hospital ambulance itself, Mr. Sukh Ram had to be again moved to ICU of Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital after his condition deteriorated.
The high court had on December 21 last year upheld his conviction and sentencing along with those of Ghosh and Rao.
The trio had been convicted by the trial court in 2002 for defrauding the state exchequer through a corrupt deed involving award of a telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad’s Advanced Radio Masts which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT.
Mr. Sukh Ram was telecom minister between January 18, 1993 and May 16, 1996, in the Narasimha Rao government.
Keywords: Sukh Ram graft case