New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought CBI's response on former Telecom Minister Sukhram's appeal challenging his conviction and sentencing by a trial court for taking bribe to award a contract to a telecom firm in 1996.

The court also sought 86-year-old Sukh Ram's medical report on his plea for suspension of sentence on health grounds and old age.

Justice Suresh Kait issued notice to CBI and sought its response by November 28.

Appearing for Sukhram, senior counsel Arvind Nigam argued that trial court has convicted his client merely on the basis of "speculation".

Sukhram, who had held the Telecom portfolio in P V Narasimha Rao's cabinet, was convicted on November 17 in a cable contract case. He was handed out five years jail term by Special CBI judge R P Pandey on November 19 and sent to jail.

Referring to the trial court's judgement in which the judge had relied on circumstantial evidence, the counsel stated that the court had ignored the fact that CBI had failed to seize the envelope in which the money was kept.

He argued that despite some prosecution witnesses not supporting the CBI's claim that six bundles of Rs 500 denomination (Rs three lakh) along with a visiting card was kept in the envelope, the trial judge held Sukhram guilty.

"The entire claim of CBI about the money and the visiting card contained in the envelope was bogus. Neither the currency nor the envelope was produced before the trial court," Nigam submitted.

The lawyer also argued for suspension of Sukh Ram's sentence and his immediate release on bail on health grounds.

Claiming that Sukhram is on regular insulin as per the doctor's advice, the counsel said that the trial court has ignored the medical documents furnished to him while awarding the sentence to the accused. The counsel said Sukh Ram's wife is no more and his son also lives abroad, leaving him with no one to take care of him.

He also cited the earlier high court's order in two different cases, in which Sukhram was sentenced for three years each but the sentence had been suspended by the high court.

At this submission, Justice Kait directed jail authorities to submit the leader's medical report by November 28.

Sukhram had earlier been convicted in two separate corruption cases in 2002 and 2009 but remained out of jail after suspension of his sentence.

The court had sentenced Sukh Ram to five year in jail and had ordered his arrest last Saturday, dismissing his plea for leniency on the ground of his age old.

 "The octogenarian convict has already reaped the dividend of a long-drawn process of law and as despite having been convicted in two other corruption cases, he is enjoying freedom, which is passing a wrong message to the public at large and strengthen the popular belief that one can earn money by corrupt means and enjoy its fruits by spending some portion of it," the court had said.

Sukhram was convicted last Thursday for misusing his official position during his tenure as Telecom Minister in award of a contract worth Rs 30 crore to Haryana Telecom Limited (HTL), a private firm, to supply 3.5 lakh conductor kilometres (LCKM) of PIJF cables to the telecom department after taking Rs 3 lakh as bribe.

(Agencies)