The Congress-led government of Punjab has asked the Supreme Court of India to jail its own minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu, for three years in a road rage case of 1988, when a man had died after being punched by the cricketer-turned-politician.
Sidhu is facing charges of having hit a 65-year-old man, Gurnam Singh, in Patiala in a road rage incident on 27 December, 1988. One of the blows allegedly landed on the left head on the parietal region of the deceased which caused a subdural hemorrhage.
However, in a statement filed before the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Jasti Chelameswar and SK Kaul, the Congress government of Punjab said that Sidhu denying his involvement in the case was false. Contradicting its own minister, the Punjab government told the Supreme Court, “There is not a single evidence that suggests that the cause of death was a cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage. The trial court verdict was rightly set aside by the high court. Accused A1 (Navjot Singh Sidhu) had given feisty blow to deceased Gurnam Singh leading to his death through brain haemorrhage.”
“There is no evidence that the person in the road rage died because of a heart attack,” NDTV quoted the Punjab government’s response. Sidhu had argued in court that Gurnam Singh died of a heart attack.
The trial court had acquitted Sidhu, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed the lower court’s order and convicted him under Section 304 Part II, IPC, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The High Court had later sentenced him to three years in jail.
Sidhu had appealed the High Court’s verdict in the Supreme Court, which granted him bail while also suspending his jail sentence in 2007. This enabled him to contest Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar.
Sidhu is currently a part of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s government and heads the tourism and culture ministry in Punjab.