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1988 Patiala road rage case: SC reserves verdict on Sidhu's appeal challenging Punjab govt's stand

By Vikas
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    The Supreme Court on Wednesday (April 18) reserved its judgement on the appeal filed by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu which challenged Punjab government's stand to uphold his conviction in 1988 Patiala road rage case.

    Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu

    On Thursday (April 12), the Punjab government had asked the Supreme Court to uphold Sidhu's conviction in Patiala road rage case. The lawyer appearing for the Punjab government told Supreme Court that the statement given by Sidhu denying his involvement in the case was false.

    Sidhu on Tuesday (April 17) told the Supreme Court that the verdict sentencing him to three years in a road rage case was flawed and not based on medical evidence.

    Thirty years after an elderly man died in a road rage case allegedly involving Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court last week commenced hearing final arguments on his appeal challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict convicting him.

    Sidhu had allegedly hit a 65-year-old man, Gurnam Singh, on the head during an argument on a road in Patiala on 27 December 1988. Gurnam Singh died in hospital. The trial court had cleared Sidhu of the charge in 1999 but the Punjab and Haryana high court sentenced him to three years in jail in December 2006. The Supreme Court had suspended the sentence the next year.

    Sidhu, on his part, has maintained that Gurnam Singh had died of a cardiac arrest.

    Sidhu is now a minister in Punjab CM Amarinder Singh's cabinet. Amarinder Singh has said that his government could not, after having taken the line that he was guilty before two other courts, contradict itself before the top court.

    Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu were initially tried for murder but the trial court in September 1999 acquitted the cricketer-turned-politician. However, the High Court reversed the verdict and held him and co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for the death of Gurnam Singh in Patiala in 1988.

    [1988 Patiala road rage case: Punjab govt asks SC to uphold Navjot Singh Sidhu's conviction]

    In his appeal filed in the top court in January 2007, Sidhu had contended that the High Court should not have reversed the trial court's order of acquittal without there being any compelling reasons and circumstances. According to the FIR in the case, Sidhu and Sandhu were allegedly present in a Gypsy parked near the Sheranwala Gate crossing on December 27, 1988m while Gurnam was on his way to a bank in a Maruti car with two others. As the deceased asked the Gypsy occupants to give them the way, he was beaten up by the accused who fled the scene. Gurnam was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.

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