Former Telecom Minister Sukhram, convicted for taking Rs 3 lakhs as bribe to give a lucrative contract to a private firm in 1996, on Saturday pleaded for leniency in a Delhi court on grounds of his old age while the Central Bureau of Investigation called him a "habitual offender" and sought maximum punishment for him.
Eighty-six-year-old Sukhram has been held guilty for misusing his official position during his tenure as Telecom Minister in P V Narasimha Rao's Cabinet in giving a contract worth Rs 30 crore to private firm Haryana Telecom Limited to supply 3.5 Lakh Conductor Kilometers of Polythene Insulated Jelly Filled cables to the telecom department.
He was held guilty on Thursday under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. Various offences under which he has been convicted entail a maximum sentence of 7 years jail term.
The court is likely to pronounce its ruling on quantum of sentence at 2.30 pm.
Appearing for Sukhram, his counsel pleaded to Special Judge R C Pandey, "I (Sukhram) am an 86-year-old person and attending the trial for past 12 to 13 years. I suffer from old age-related ailments and have lost my wife. Therefore, a lenient view may be taken."
He also submitted that "age is a good consideration for leniency". He said that "as such it is not a case where government has lost any money. The CBI allegation was that he (Sukhram) took bribe but no financial loss has been caused to the government exchequer."Responding to this, the CBI prosecutor argued that Sukhram is a "habitual offender" as he has been sentenced in two other cases also and deserves no leniency.