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Published On: Thu, Apr 12th, 2018

Punjab govt seeks conviction of its own minister Navjot Sidhu

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223717-217610-siddhuNEW DELHI/ CHANDIGARH: In a big setback for Congress Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the state government has sought the conviction of the cricketer-turned-politician in a 1998 road rage case.
The Punjab government on Thursday sought conviction of its own minister  Navjot Singh Sidhu in connection with a 30-year-old road rage case. It told the Supreme Court that the Punjab and Haryana High Court was correct in convicting its incumbent minister.

As per  report, the counsel appearing for the Punjab government told the a bench of Justices comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the statement given by Sidhu denying his involvement in the case was false.
The Punjab government’s counsel has also argued that the Punjab and Haryana High Court order which convicted Sidhu should be upheld. The order had convicted the cricketer-turned-politician for three years in prison.
The incident dates back to December 27, 1988 when Sidhu got involved in a purported case of road rage in Patiala where he allegedly hit the 65-year-old victim, Gurnam Singh. One of the blow allegedly landed on Singh’s head, which caused bleeding in his brain which led to his death.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing the final arguments in the 30-year-old Patiala road rage case, allegedly involving Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, on the appeal filed against a Punjab and Haryana High Court order convicting Sindhu and co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu in the case.
The accused duo had been initially tried for murder but a trial court had acquitted Sidhu in September 1999. However, the judgment was reversed by the High Court later, which found him guilty under Section 304 Part II, IPC, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The High Court had reasoned that the victim, Gurnam Singh, had not died due to cardiac failure but due to his brain injury. Besides sentencing both Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu to a three-year imprisonment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on both of them.

In 2007, Sidhu was granted bail by the Supreme Court, which also stayed his conviction to allow him to contest the Lok Sabha by-poll from Amritsar which had been necessitated after he had resigned, following his conviction. In his appeal filed in 2007 in the top court, Sidhu had reportedly said that the Punjab and Haryana High Court should not have reversed the verdict of the trial court without any “compelling reasons and circumstances”.
The cricketer-turned-politician, who deserted the BJP and joined the Congress days before the Punjab assembly election in 2017, holds the tourism portfolio in the Chief Minister Amrendra Singh Cabinet.
Appearing for the Punjab government, Advocate Sanram Singh Saron said, “there is not a single evidence which suggests that the cause of death was cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage as concluded by the trial court”.
He said, “The trial court verdict was rightly set aside by the High Court. Accused A1 (Navjot Singh Sidhu) had given fist blow to deceased Gurnam Singh leading to his death through brain hemorrhage”.Concluding his arguments, Saron said the trial court was wrong in its finding the man died of cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage.
The hearing will be continued on April 17, 2018 when Sidhu’s counsel senior advocate R S Cheema will give the rebuttal to state government’s argument.(with Agency Inputs ).

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