1988 road rage case: Navjot Singh Sidhu acquitted

Sidhu acquitted in road rage case By IANS On

Sidhu's counsel RS Cheema argued before the court that the medical opinion on the cause of death of the victim, Gurnam Singh, was vague.

The Congress-led Punjab government had opposed the plea of Sidhu, who is a minister in the state government, for acquittal in the case and contended that there was no error in the HC verdict.

In December 1988, Sidhu had allegedly hit 65-year-old Gurnam Singh after getting into an altercation over a parking space in Patiala. Co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu, the current Punjab Tourism Minister was acquitted of all charges.

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A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul had on April 18 reserved its judgement in the case in which Sidhu, who had quit the BJP and joined the Congress days before the Punjab assembly election a year ago, had claimed that evidence about the cause of death of victim Gurnam Singh was contradictory and the medical opinion in this regard was "vague". Sidhu had filed an appeal against a Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict sentencing him to three-year imprisonment. Singh was rushed to a hospital where the doctors declared him.

Navjot Singh Sidhu is guilty, awarded no sentence but fine of Rs 1,000 for the offence.

Reversing the High Court ruling, the apex court acquitted him of the serious charge of culpable homicide in the 1988 case. It was claimed by the prosecution that Sidhu had even fled the scene of the crime.

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On the other hand, the victim's family moved to the SC to enhance the three-year jail time given by the HC. The man received injuries to his head, and subsequently died of brain haemorrhage.

In 1999, the trial court in Patiala had acquitted Sidhu and his cousin saying the medical report stated that the death was due to a heart attack. It had told the Supreme Court that the Punjab and Haryana High Court was correct in convicting its incumbent minister. He was given bail in 2007 by the top court, which had also stayed his conviction to enable him contest Lok Sabha by polls from Amritsar.

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