The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside a single judge’s order and agreed to hear former telecom minister Sukh Ram’s appeal against a Rs one crore penalty imposed on him for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.
The order by a bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal came on a plea by the former Union minister challenging a single judge’s order refusing to entertain his appeal on the ground that an alternative remedy was available under the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
The bench set aside the June 3, 2016, order of the single judge, saying “Dismissal of the writ petition at the threshold solely on the ground of availability of alternative remedy is not warranted”.
It ordered that Sukh Ram’s appeal against the September 8, 2015 order of the Enforcement Directorate imposing the penalty on him be considered afresh and listed it for hearing before the appropriate judge on March 27.
The 91-year-old Congress leader was convicted in 2002 by a trial court under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sentenced to three years imprisonment for awarding a telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad-based Advanced Radio Masts (ARM) which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
His conviction and sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2011 and his appeal against it is pending in the Supreme Court.
Apart from Sukh Ram, ARM’s managing director P Rama Rao and DoT deputy director General Runu Ghosh were also convicted in the 1993 case.
Rao was sentenced to three years in jail, while Ghosh was awarded two year imprisonment.