The Supreme Court on Thursday asked former Union minister Sukh Ram,convicted in a 1993 graft case,to surrender before a trial court to serve his three-year jail term.
Refusing to interfere with the Delhi High Court order which had upheld Sukh Rams conviction and his jail term,the apex court also refused to give any relief to his accomplices,former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and the managing director of a private telecom firm P Rama Rao,and asked them to surrender to serve their sentences.
A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar refused to grant any relief to the trio,saying that it would hear their pleas only after they surrender before the court by evening.
Four hours after the apex court order,both Rao and Ghosh appeared before Special CBI Judge Dharmesh Sharma and surrendered.
However,86-year-old Sukh Ram cited medical reasons for not surrendering and his counsel told the Special CBI Judge that he is hospitalised after undergoing angiography owing to his cardiac ailments.
The court said that the former Union ministers plea that he be taken into judicial custody at the hospital itself will be heard only on Friday.
Sukh Ram,Rama Rao and Ghosh were held guilty of being part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state exchequer by awarding a telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad-based Advanced Radio Masts (ARM). The company had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT.
Sukh Ram was Union Telecom Minister between January 18,1993 and May 16,1996 in the P V Narasimha Rao-led government. The CBI had filed a chargesheet in March 1997,accusing Sukh Ram and Ghosh of entering into a criminal conspiracy with Rama Rao. The then minister had issued an order on July 16,1993,that after the finalisation of every tender and before the issuance of the purchase order,every file should be put up before him,the agency had said.
After the registration of various cases,the CBI,in 1996,had allegedly seized Rs 3.6 crore in cash which was concealed in bags and suitcases from Sukh Rams residence.