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Former Union minister Sukhram convicted in disproportionate assets case
February 20, 2009 13:49 IST
Last Updated: February 20, 2009 14:19 IST
Former Union Communications Minister Sukhram was convicted on Fridayby a Delhi [Images] Court for amassing Rs 4.25 crore of disproportionate assets that included seizure of Rs 2.45 crore from his residence in New Delhi.
Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge V K Maheshwari held the 82-year-old politician from Himachal Pradesh [Images] guilty under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The quantum of sentence against the former member of Parliament would be pronounced on February 24. The maximum sentence for the offences he is convicted for is seven years.
The court said that Sukhram acquired assets worth Rs 4.25 crore which were disproportionate to his known sources of
his income between 1991 to 1996.
The former minister was not present in the court to hear the verdict as he was appearing in another criminal case pending in the Rohini District Court and his counsel pleaded before the special CBI judge for exemption from personal
appearance for today. During arguments in the case, CBI had alleged that Sukhram had amassed disproportionate assets, both movable and immovable, to the tune of Rs 5.36 crore during 1991 to 1996 in his capacity as a public servant.
Sukhram, who was the then minister of state for communication in the cabinet of former prime minister P V Narsimha Rao, was found in possession of cash of Rs 3.61 crore at his residences in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, jewellery
worth Rs 10.29 lakh, bank balance of Rs 4.92 lakh and household articles worth 10.30 lakh besides other items.
However, the court came to the conclusion that the disproportionate assets amounted to Rs 4.25 crore. The court convicted the Himachal Pradesh leader under section 13(2) read with 13(1)(e) dealing with criminal misconduct of a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had registered the case against the former MP on August 27, 1996 following recovery of Rs 2.45 crore from
Sukhram's residence at 12, Safdarjung lane here and Rs 1.16 crore from his residence at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.
The CBI had conducted the raid at his Delhi and Himachal residences on August 16, 1996.
Sukhram, however, had denied the charges against him saying the money recovered from his houses belonged to the
Congress Party. he CBI had examined former prime minister Rao and then senior Congress leader Sitaram Kesari who had refuted Sukhram's contention that the money was part of party funds.
During the arguments in the case, special CBI prosecutor Gurdial Singh had alleged that Sukhram, in his capacity as a
public servant during the period from June 20, 1991 to August 16, 1996, had abused his official position and amassed huge assets including one palatial house at Ghaziabad and a farm house in Himachal Pradesh, besides cash, bank balances and jewellery.
Senior counsel KTS Tulsi, appearing on behalf of Sukhram, had argued that he was a victim of political rivalry between the then Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and former prime minister Narasimha Rao.
During the trial, CBI examined as many as 64 witnesses to prove its charges against Sukhram.
A total of 16 witnesses were produced on behalf of the defence including Sukhram's son Anil Sharma, MLA from
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