NEW DELHI: Ailing former telecom minister Sukh Ram Saturday surrendered in a court here in a graft case and was sent to Tihar Jail. The 84-year-old appeared in the court premises in an ambulance.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Sanjeev Jain sent Sukh Ram to jail to serve a three-year term in a 1993 telecom scam.
The case involves award of a contract to a Hyderabad firm for supplying telecom equipment to the government at allegedly exorbitant rates.
In 2002, he was awarded a three-year jail term under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the case.
Judge Jain said that Sukh Ram would be taken to jail in the same ambulance. "As requested by the counsel for the convict (Sukh Ram), jail authorities are directed to provide necessary medical aid to him in accordance with the norms," the judge said.
However, the doctor accompanying Sukh Ram said that the patient was still unconscious, after which the judge allowed him to go with Sukh Ram till the jail.
Earlier Saturday, the court directed Sukh Ram to surrender as soon as possible. "He can't go beyond (Delhi) high court's order as the court had asked him to surrender before the trial court," the judge said.
Sukh Ram has been undergoing treatment at a hospital in Delhi.
The former minister's counsel, citing medical problems of his client, told the court that he will appear in the court in an ambulance.
"He is in a state of drowsiness as he has undergone medical treatment," his counsel Anil Nag said.
The court had warned defence counsel that if Sukh Ram failed to surrender, it may issue a non-bailable warrant against him.
Nag said that issuance of the non-bailable warrant would adversely affect their case pending in the Supreme Court. He also apologised for Friday's statement by another counsel, who said the former minister had slipped into coma.
Sukh Ram was to surrender Friday.
"Sukh Ram is in coma after undergoing angiography, so he cannot move from the hospital," Sukh Ram's counsel D.S. Patiyl had said.
Sukh Ram is also accused of showing undue favour to a cable supply company and accepting Rs.3 lakh as bribe when he was minister.
In another case, he was held guilty of possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs.4.25 crore in 2009.