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Sukh Ram sentenced to 5 years in jail

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister Sukhram was today awarded five years imprisonment by a Delhi court after being convicted of taking Rs three lakh as bribe to give a lucrative contract to a private firm in 1996.

Special CBI Judge R. P. Pandey also imposed a fine of Rs 4 lakh on 86-year-old Sukhram, who held the Telecom portfolio in P. V. Narasimha Rao's Cabinet. The CBI prosecutor said Sukhram would be taken into custody and sent to jail to serve the punishment as the sentence exceeded a three-year jail term and convicts in these cases were not granted statutory bail.

Sukhram was held guilty yesterday under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code(IPC). Various offences under which he has been convicted entail a maximum sentence of 7-year jail term. PTIBack


2G scam: CBI raids Vodafone, Airtel offices

New Delhi: The CBI today carried out searches at the Vodafone office in Mumbai and Airtel office in Gurgaon after registering a case against ex-Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and the two telecom service providers for alleged irregularities in spectrum allocation during the tenure of Pramod Mahajan as Telecom Minister.

Besides Ghosh, the case was registered against former director of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited J. R. Gupta, the agency said.

Immediately after registering the case, CBI teams conducted searches at the official premises of Vodafone in Mumbai, Airtel in Gurgaon and residences of Ghosh and Gupta, it said.

Responding to the raids, Bharti Airtel said it has always maintained the highest standard of corporate governance and regulatory compliance.

"We would like to categorically state that all the spectrum allotted to us from time to time has been strictly as per the stated government policy," a Bharti Airtel spokesperson said.

"We are providing all details and correspondence to the authorities and shall provide complete support as needed in the matter," the spokesperson said.

When approached, Vodafone said they would comment on the developments later.

The CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry to look into the allocation of spectrum under Mahajan to certain companies beyond the prescribed limit.

The CBI alleged in its FIR that Department of Telecom had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 megahertz to 6.2 megahertz during Mahajan's tenure from 2001 to 2003 and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria.

The agency has already filed a case with regard to alleged conspiracy in the Aircel-Maxis deal during the tenure of the then Telecom Minister, Dayanidhi Maran. PTI



PM for greater trade with East

Bali: Acknowledging India's economic slowdown this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country was still expected to witness a 7.5 per cent growth as he pressed for greater flow of trade, investments and services from East Asian nations. PTIBack


Scribes kept away from Obama-Wen meeting

Washington: Print journalists travelling with US President Barack Obama were kept away from his all-important meeting with the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Indonesia, prompting a verbal protest from the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA).

The meeting being scheduled at a short notice this morning gained importance in the wake of tension between the two nations after Obama pressed China to "play by the rules" in speeches and in a bilateral meeting last weekend with President Hu Jintao in Hawaii. Only still photographers and television cameras were allowed into the US-China meeting. PTIBack


Defamation case against Rahul Gandhi

Muzaffarnagar: A defamation case has been filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh's Prabudhnagar district by a Shiv Sena activist for his alleged derogatory remarks against people of the state at a rally. Shiv Sena activist Sanjay Sharma filed the complaint in a local court.

Gandhi, while kicking off Congress' UP election campaign in Phulpur on November 14 had said, "People of UP are appreciated for their hard work wherever they go in search of job...How long will you beg in Maharashtra (for work)? How long will you work as labourer in Punjab?"

The comment has sparked a controversy in the political circle. PTIBack


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