NEW DELHI: “I am 92 and do not want to die as a convicted man,” former Telecom Minister Sukhram Wednesday told the Supreme Court and sought early hearing on his appeal against three-year jail term in a corruption case.
The Delhi High Court had in 2011 upheld the conviction and awarded the jail term to the veteran leader by the trial court in 2002 in the 1993 telecom equipment purchase deal to benefit a Hyderabad-based company.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar took note of the submission of senior advocate Ranjit Kumar that the hearing be expedited as the leader does not want to die with the blot of conviction. “Be it noted that the appellant is on bail. However, the submission is that he does not intend to leave the world with a stamp of criminality.
“Be that as it may, there are three connected appeals … which relate to the year 2012. The counsel for the appellants and P K Dey, counsel appearing for CBI, have no objection if the appeals are listed for final hearing in the first week before the vacation bench in the month of May, 2018. Ordered accordingly,” the court said.
The High Court, while dismissing Sukh Ram’s appeal against the trial court verdict of 2002, had also upheld the conviction of Runu Ghosh, then Director in Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and P Rama Rao, Managing Director of Advanced Radio Masts (ARM) Pvt Ltd. Sukhram, Ghosh and Rao were convicted under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of abusing official position for pecuniary gains and criminal misconduct. The veteran leader was, however, absolved of the charge of criminal conspiracy.
While the nonagenarian leader and Rao were awarded three-year jail term, Ghosh was sentenced to two year imprisonment. There are other cases pending at different stages against Sukhram, who was awarded five years jail term by a trial court in 2011 in another telecom scam.