27 July 1927|
Mandi, British Punjab
|Residence||Mandi, Himachal Pradesh|
|Alma mater||Delhi Law School|
|Known for||Telecom Scam|
|Children||Anil Sharma, a former Cabinet Minister in Virbhadra Singh Government (2012-17), now in the BJP|
Sukh Ram is a former union communications minister in the Indian National Congress Government. He was a member of Lok Sabha from Mandi constituency of Himachal Pradesh. He won the Vidhan Sabha election five times and the Lok sabha election three times.
Ram was Telecom Minister in P. V. Narasimha Rao's cabinet. In 1996 the Central Bureau of Investigation seized from his official residence Rs. 3.6 crores in cash concealed in bags and suitcases, which he had collected in connection with irregularities in awarding a telecom contract. He was convicted on 18 November 2011, and sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment by a Delhi court in 2002.
As a coincidence, Ram, the former union minister of telecommunications, will be lodged in the Tihar Prisons Jail No. 1, the same as the one in which another former minister of telecommunications, Andimuthu Raja, is being lodged as an undertrial in what is widely known as the multi-core rupees 2G Spectrum case. The November 2011 sentencing of Ram is not related to the 2G spectrum case, but is related to the fraudulent procedures followed in the purchase of polythene-insulated jelly-filled cables for the department of telecommunication of which he was minister. Ram has previously been sentenced for amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Although convicted and sentenced by different courts in three different but related cases, Ram has said he will fight his case in higher courts. In March 2018, the Supreme Court consented to hear his appeal in May of that year.
Early life and career
He attended Delhi Law School and practised as a lawyer at the Mandhi District law courts in 1953. In 1962 he became a Member of the Territorial Council in Himachal Pradesh, then represented the Mandi Assembly seat from 1963 to 1984. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984 and served as a junior minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government. He served as minister of state for defence production and supplies, planning and food and civil supplies. In 1991, Sukh Ram was the Union minister of state (independent charge) of the communications portfolio.
While Sukh Ram represented the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency, his son contested and won the Assembly seat in 1993. Sukh Ram won the Mandi Lok Sabha seat in 1996, but the two were expelled from the Congress party after the telecom scam. They formed the Himachal Vikas Congress, had a post-poll alliance with the BJP and joined the government.
Sukh Ram lost the Lok Sabha election in 1998, but won the Assembly seat. His son Anil Sharma was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1998. In the 2003 Assembly poll, Sukh Ram retained the Mandi Assembly seat but joined the Congress in the run-up to the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. Anil Sharma won the Mandi Assembly seat in 2007 and 2012 as a Congress candidate. The family has a significant influence among the Himachal’s Brahmins, who comprise nearly 20 per cent, or a fifth, of the state’s electorate (the second-highest for any state in India, next to Utarakhand). His grandson is married to Salman Khan's sister.
- "Sukh Ram sentenced to 5 years jail in 1996 telecom scam case". The Hindu. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Sukhram convicted in 1996 telecom scam". The Times of India. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- "Sukh Ram gets 3-yr RI". The Chandigarh Tribune. 5 July 2002. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- "Sukhram, Raja will be in same jail". The Hindu. 20 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- polythene-insulated jelly-filled cables, (for representative picture and related technical details only
- "Sukhram's assets swelled from Rs 26 lakh to Rs 6 Cr: CBI". The Chennai Online. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- The Chor from mandi has still not returned the money which was not seized and its value has increased 2o times in these 20 years"I will appeal to higher court: Sukhram". The Hans India. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- "92-year-old Sukhram seeks to clear his name from telecom scam - Times of India". The Times of India. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "The Man From Mandi". Outlook India. 4 September 1996. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "Sukhram: A wily politician turned Kingmaker". Hindustan Times. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- Bodhi, Anand (15 October 2017). "Sukh Ram and sons cross over to BJP - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 April 2018.