India ex-telecoms minister Sukh Ram freed on bail

image captionSukh Ram was convicted of taking a bribe to award a contract in 1996

The Delhi high court has suspended the five-year jail sentence of former Indian telecoms minister Sukh Ram and released him on bail.

Sukh Ram, 86, was convicted 10 days ago of taking a bribe to award a contract in 1996.

The judge said he was suspending the sentence till the case was decided, bearing in mind old age and health.

On Friday, Sukh Ram's lawyers filed an appeal in the high court calling for immediate release on health grounds.

Sukh Ram was the telecoms minister during the prime ministership of PV Narasimha Rao.

On 19 November, a trial court found Sukh Ram guilty of abusing his official position as minister and accepting a bribe of $57,708 (£37,190) from a private firm 15 years ago.