Welcome to high profile Tihar Jail – Mr. Sukhram, which is already full of scamsters like ex-ministers, politicians and business honchos – Rajas, Kanimozhis etc.
A Delhi court on Saturday i.e 19th November, 2011, sentenced former telecom minister Sukhram, convicted in the 1996 telecom scam, to five years in jail. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 4 lakh on Sukhram. He was held guilty for misusing his official position and taking bribe of Rs. 3 lakhs during his tenure as telecom minister in the PV Narasimha government in award of contract worth Rs. 30 crore to private firm Haryana Telecom Limited .
This case lasted for 13 years and unfortunately Sukhram has to undergo rigorous punishment at the fag end of his life when he is 86 years old. As pointed out by us several times, our judicial procedures are very lethargic and need drastic changes so that the cases could be concluded in time frame of maximum two to three years from the date of filing. Had this case been fast tracked as it involved huge amount of money, Sukhram must have completed his jail term by now and must be resting and repenting.
Central Bureau of Investigation, which has filed charge sheet for the recently 2G telecom scandal, should see to it that all the cases are fast tracked and day to day hearing should be done so that the guilty could be brought to books as early as possible and could be punished when they are hale and hearty.
The learned court has convicted Sukhram of accepting bribe of Rs.3 lakhs for awarding a contract of 30 crores to a private company. Our politicians standard is not so low that they would accept just fraction of cut from a deal of 30 crores. By imposing a fine of just Rs. 4 lakhs, he has been left scot free to keep ill-gotten wealth. The ideal punishment for such type of corrupt politician and criminal should be that his assets should be confiscated for notional value, which he must have made for such a deal and in this case, he must have taken minimum of 10%, which works out to 3 crores and not 3 lakhs.
Since he is 86 years old, he will try to spend maximum of his jail term in good hospitals on pretext of some ailments. The jail authorities must see to it that they are not as liberal with him as they are with other criminals like Manu Sharma and Vikas Yadav etc.
Unfortunately, for UPA government, this judgement is another nail in their coffin of corruption. Sukhram was telecom minister when late PV Narasimha Rao was PM of a congress led government. The current dispensation should take lesson from this judgement that moment they come across any wrong doings by any ministry, the concerned minister should be kicked off immediately lest he or she ends up in a gigantic scandal.
Mr. Sukhram – please cool your heel in salubrious environment of Tihar Jail, and being an elder, give wise counseling to your colleagues, who will give you company during your short stay in the jail, because you are going to spend maximum time in air-conditioned hospitals on one pretext or other.