New Delhi, Nov 19: Soon after his conviction in a 1996 graft case, former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram was today assaulted by a Sikh youth who was angry that despite committing “such a crime” he has been jailed only for five years.
The 86-year-old politician, who was seen shivering in the court room at the time of pronouncement of sentence by judge R P Pandey, was attacked outside it, shortly afterwards while being escorted to a hospital for a medical check-up.
The policemen were taking him to hospital on the order of the court which had minutes earlier sentenced him to five years in jail for taking Rs 3 lakhs as bribe for awarding a lucrative contract to a private firm for supply of communication cables to the government in 1996.
The assailant, sporting a black turban, red T-shirt and jeans and identified as Harvinder Singh, had earlier accosted Sukh Ram in the morning, saying “Tussi Sukhram ho? Tussi aye ki kitta? (Are you Sukhram? What have you done?)” But as he posed the query, the security personnel whisked him out of the court on objection by Sukh Ram's counsel.
Singh, however, came back when Sukh Ram was being escorted out after pronouncement of his sentence and flung himself on the octogenarian leader's frail body just outside the CBI courtroom in the Rohini court complex.
But people accompanying Sukh Ram, including his grandson and security personnel, intervened swiftly and nabbed the assailant. The police took Singh into custody even as Sukh Ram's associates landed a few blows on the youth.
While being dragged away from Sukh Ram, Singh screamed “What should I do other than hitting him? What wrong I did? He committed such a crime and is awarded just five years jail term.”
Sukh Ram's grandson threw a protective ring around the former union minister and escorted him downstairs in a lift along with other cops.
The cops later said Singh had been to Prashant Vihar Police Station.
Several court staff, who witnessed the event, said Singh was mentally disturbed and was usually seen roaming around the court complex.