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Published On: Tue, May 15th, 2018

Apex Court convicts Punjab Minister Navjot Sidhu in road rage case

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chandigarh-addresses-conference-chandigarh-thursday-hindustan-minister_785a3dde-626b-11e7-89bd-50891d422d4cNEW DELHI : Navjot Singh Sidhu has been found guilty of causing injuries to a person in a 30-year-old road rage case by the Supreme Court today. The 55-year-old cricketer-turned-politician won’t go to jail and will retain his portfolio in the Punjab government. He has been asked to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000.
Sidhu will not be liable for imprisonment. The Court has, thus, set aside the judgment of Punjab & Haryana High Court that held him guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.The other accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu has been acquitted.

This judgment was delivered by a Division Bench comprising Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul a month after it was reserved on April 18 this year.
Senior Advocate RS Cheema along with Advocates Tarunnum Cheema, Hiral Gupta, and Smrithi Suresh appeared for Sidhu while Senior Advocate R Basant along with Advocate Karthik Ashok appeared for Sandhu.
The Appellants, Navjot Singh Sidhu, and Rupinder Singh Sandhu were convicted by Punjab and Haryana High Court and awarded three years imprisonment and a fine of Rupees one lakh each in the road rage case which dates back to 1988.
Both the accused-appellants were charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder for the death of one Gurnam Singh. The case of the prosecution was that in December 1988, the victim and the appellants got into a heated exchange over a vehicle belonging to the appellants which was allegedly parked in the middle of the road.

This exchange, according to the prosecution led to a physical assault by the appellants on the victim who was pronounced dead when he was taken to the hospital. It was claimed by the prosecution that Sidhu had even fled the scene of the crime.

The Trial Court had acquitted the appellants in 1999 on the grounds that the death of the victim was caused due to cardiac arrest and not due to the injuries sustained in the assault. This acquittal, however, was set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2006, which found the appellants guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.In 2007, the Supreme Court had stayed Sidhu’s conviction and had granted him bail.
Last month, Mr Sidhu appealed in the top court challenging the High Court order and argued before the bench of Justices J Chelameswar and SK Kaul that the three witnesses presented by the prosecution had spoken in “different language” before the trial cou.

His boss, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, however, supported his conviction in the court. The Punjab government also contradicted his contention that Gurnam Singh died of a cardiac arrest and told the Supreme Court that he must be sent to jail.

Explaining his position, Mr Singh later said that after having taking a stance that he was guilty before two other courts, his government could not contradict itself.
Mr Sidhu had quit the BJP after representing Amritsar in Lok Sabha for two terms when the ticket to contest from the city went to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2014. He later joined the rival Congress, a party he had criticised as BJP man.( With Agency Inputs ).


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