Former bureaucrat given three years’ jail sentence for graft

NEW DELHI - A city court Friday sentenced Runu Ghosh, former deputy director general in the telecom ministry, to three years’ rigorous imprisonment for amassing disproportionate assets worth Rs.2.27 million during the tenure of former union minister Sukh Ram. The court later granted her bail.

The court spared Ghosh of the maximum sentence of seven years, considering her age (57), her husband’s poor health and the fact that the illegal wealth acquired by her has been confiscated.

‘The fact that disproportionate assets accumulated by the convict by illegal means has been forfeited to the state by this court and the convict is already of 57 years of age, having one son who is still studying, her husband suffering from heart disease, the convict has been awarded three years’ rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs.100,000,’ said Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge V.K. Maheshwari.

The court suspended her sentence for two months to enable her to file an appeal in the high court and granted her bail on personal and surety bond of Rs.50,000 each.

The court termed corruption in bureaucracy as a gigantic problem, saying it has spread everywhere.

‘No facet of public activity has been left unaffected by the stink of corruption. It has deep and pervasive impact on the functioning of entire country.’

Making a distinction between heinous offences such as murder and corruption cases, the court said murder may be committed in the heat of the moment upon passions being aroused. An economic offence is committed with cool calculation and deliberate design with an eye to personal profit regardless of the consequence on the community.

According to the prosecution, Ghosh acquired the wealth between 1992 and 1996 while working as deputy director general (licence and finance) in the Telecom Department during the tenure of then telecommunications minister Sukhram.

Ghosh’s conviction for amassing illegal wealth comes two months after Sukh Ram was held guilty for acquiring disproportionate assets worth Rs.24.5 million in cash and was sentenced to three years in prison.

In a separate case, Ghosh, along with Sukh Ram and Rama Rao, managing director of the Hyderabad-based firm Advance Radio Masts (ARM) Ltd, had been convicted by a Delhi court in July 2002 for causing over Rs.16.8 million loss to the state exchequer by awarding a contract to the firm.

Her appeal against a two-year jail term is pending before the Delhi High Court.


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