Don't Want to Die With Tag of a Convict: Former Union Minister Sukh Ram Asks SC to Decide His Appeal Soon
Appearing for Sukh Ram, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar pointed out that his client, the veteran Congress leader, had been out on bail since 2012 but with the advanced age, he wanted to shed the tag of a convict.
File photo of former Union Minister Sukh Ram. (PTI)
New Delhi: Convicted in the 1993 telecom scam case, former Union Minister Sukh Ram has requested the Supreme Court to decide his appeal as soon as possible because he is already 92 and does not want to die with the "tag of a convict".
On Wednesday, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar appealed to a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that the appeal against the conviction and three year sentence in the 25-year-old case be decided expeditiously.
Kumar, referring to an application moved for early hearing, pointed out that his client, the veteran Congress leader, had been out on bail since 2012 but with the advanced age, he wanted to shed the tag of a convict.
"He does not want to leave this world with this tag…with a stamp of criminality," submitted Kumar.
On being asked by the bench, the senior lawyer agreed to have the hearing of this appeal during the summer vacation in May, so that the case could be expedited.
Lawyers, appearing for the co-accused in the case and on behalf of the CBI, also agreed to argue this case during the summer break.
The bench then passed its order: "Senior counsel appearing for the appellant (Sukh Ram) submitted that the appellant is 92 years old and, therefore, the appeal should be heard as expeditiously as possible. 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."
It further noted the statements of the CBI lawyer that the agency had 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 application for early hearing stands disposed of," said the Court.
Sukh Ram, along with former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao, were convicted by the Delhi 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.
Sukh Ram was telecom minister between January 18, 1993 and May 16, 1996, in the Narasimha Rao government.
In December 2011, the Delhi High Court upheld his conviction and sentencing along with those of Ghosh and Rao.
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