Policy

A rare case of arrest

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

raja





Mr A Raja's arrest on Wednesday is, by and large, a rare event in Indian polity.

The most high-profile case linked to corruption was the arrest of Mr Sukh Ram, the controversial Telecom Minister in the Narasimha Rao Government in the early 1990s.

Mr Kalpnath Rai, the Minister of State for Food in the same Government, was arrested in 1994 in connection with a sugar imports scam.

Besides corruption charges, top Central Government functionaries in the past have been put behind bars, with charges being politically motivated. Former Prime Minister Ms Indira Gandhi has served time while DMK leaders Mr Murasoli Maran and Mr T R Baalu too have faced arrests, though the cases against all of them were largely cited as instances of political vendetta.

CORRUPTION CHARGES

Among corruption charges, Mr Sukh Ram's case was one of the most high-profile.

He served as the Union Minister of Telecommunications in the early 1990s, overseeing the initial stages of privatisation efforts in the sector.

In December, 1995, he came under fire for allegedly favouring specific companies in dealing out licenses and contracts during the telecommunications privatisation, and for receiving bribes for doing so.

The controversy over these contracts led to a stalemate in the Parliament for several weeks.

On August 16, 1996, the CBI raided Mr Sukh Ram's two homes, and seized Rs 5.78 crore stuffed into suitcases and trunks, as well as diaries containing bank accounts and names of individuals who bribed him. On September 16, 1996, the agency arrested Mr Sukh Ram after his return to India from London, on charges of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

As Food Minister, Mr Kalpnath Rai was embroiled in a scam involving the import of sugar at a price higher than that of the market, allegedly causing a loss of Rs 650 crore to the exchequer.

In 1994, he was arrested and jailed in connection with the scam but was later acquitted. In 1997, Mr Rai was sentenced to 10 years in prison with a fine of Rs 10 lakh by a Terrorist And Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA) court in Delhi for harbouring members of the Dawood Ibrahim gang.

OTHER CASES

Central ministers in the NDA Government — Mr Murasoli Maran and Mr T.R. Baalu — were arrested along with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr M. Karunanidhi, and his son Mr M.K. Stalin in a sweeping post-midnight crackdown on June 30, 2001 by the AIADMK Government.

While father and son were charged with corruption linked to contracts for flyovers constructed in Chennai, the two Central ministers were arrested for obstructing the arrest.

Way back in October 1977, former Prime Minister Ms Indira Gandhi was arrested after the Janata Party came to power.

Allegations against her included that she “had planned or thought of killing all opposition leaders in jail during the Emergency”.

> anil@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 02, 2011

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