The fate of former Union Communications Minister Sukhram in a telecom scam case remained undecided as a single judge bench of the Delhi High Court on Friday referred his appeal against the conviction and three years jail term to a Division Bench.
Justice S Muralidhar in his judgement said that the case has to be referred to the Division Bench as several legal issues are involved in it.
"There are certain legal issues which I have framed in this case and it should be decided by a division Bench," Justice Murlidhar said while referring the matter in which two others were convicted by the trial court in 2002 to a larger Bench.
Sukhram was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment for indulging in telecom scam causing loss of Rs 1.68 crore to the public exchequer during the regime of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
He was convicted in July 2002 along with former Deputy Director General in the Department of Telecom (DoT) Runu Ghosh and managing director of the private firm M/s. Advanced Radio Ltd, P Ramarao.
A Special CBI Court had sentenced Sukhram to three years imprisonment and also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on finding him guilty for being part of the criminal conspiracy under Indian Penal Code to defraud the exchequer by awarding the contract to M/S ARM of Bangalore which had supplied inferior equipment at a higher rate.
Sukhram was also convicted for the substantive offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
The trial court which had said that sentences would run concurrently, had granted bail to Sukhram, who had challenged the judgement in the High Court.
Ghosh was sentenced to two years imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000 for her offence to be part of the criminal conspiracy.
Ramarao was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2 lakh.
All the accused were allowed to appeal against the verdict and were granted bail subject to their furnishing a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh with a surety each.
Sukhram was also convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment in another corruption case in February this year in which the trial court had ordered forfeiture of Rs 4.25 crore disproportionate assets amassed during his tenure as Union Telecom Minister from 1991 to 1996.
He has filed appeal against the verdict in the High Court. CBI had seized a whopping Rs 3.61 crore in cash from his houses in Delhi and other places.
Ghosh was also convicted and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs one lakh on May 15 by the trial court court in a separate corruption case lodged against her by the CBI.
In her case also, the Special CBI court had ordered confiscation of her illegal wealth.
She was granted bail by the High Court where her appeal is pending.Ghosh was convicted for acquiring illegal wealth from November 1, 1992, to August 16, 1996, while serving as deputy director general in the Telecom department. PTI