Former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu was sent to Patiala central jail less than an hour after he surrendered before a local court in a 1988 road rage case, reported the Hindustan Times.

The Congress leader surrendered a day after the Supreme Court sentenced him to one year in jail in the case. On Friday, authorities took him for a medical check-up at the Mata Kaushalya Hospital before he was sent to the prison.

Sidhu had hit a person named Gurnam Singh on December 27, 1988 following an argument. Singh had died after the incident.

On Friday, Sidhu’s lawyers told the court that the Congress leader had recently undergone surgery, is on medication and needs a special diet, which should not include wheat flour. Sidhu’s media adviser Surinder Dalla said it he was hopeful the court will consider the request.

Meanwhile, Punjab’s Additional Director General of Police Verinder Kumar visited the prison to take stock of security measures before Sidhu was imprisoned. Jail officials clarified that Kumar’s visit was routine and that the prison lodges several other prominent figures.

Earlier on Friday, Sidhu had asked for a few weeks to surrender, citing medical reasons, PTI reported.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Sidhu, had told the Supreme Court that his client needed a few weeks to settle his medical problems, reported PTI.

“He will of course surrender shortly,” Singhvi told the bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar. “We want a few weeks to surrender. It [the sentence] is after 34 years. He wants to organise his medical affairs.”

Justice JB Pardiwala directed Singhvi to submit an application as the judgement was passed by a special bench.

“You can file that application and mention it before the chief justice,” the bench observed. “If the chief justice constitutes that bench today, we will consider that. If that bench is not available, it will have to be constituted.”

The road rage case

In September 1999, a trial court had acquitted Sidhu of all charges.

Reversing the verdict, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in December 2008, held Sidhu and and his aide Rupinder Singh Sandhu guilty of homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 (II) of the Indian Penal Code and convicted them to three years in jail.

In May 2018, the Supreme Court had set aside the order. The Supreme Court had held Sidhu guilty of voluntarily causing hurt to a senior citizen and fined him Rs 1,000, but spared him the jail term.

In September 2018, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear a review petition filed by the family of deceased man. In February, the court had asked Sidhu to file a response to the application that sought harsher charges against him.

Sidhu opposed the plea citing the earlier Supreme Court judgement which had held that there was no evidence that the victim died due to a single blow. However, a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Thursday allowed the family’s plea for stricter punishment.

The prosecution alleged that Sidhu and Sandhu had parked their vehicle in the middle of a road near Patiala city’s Sheranwala Gate Crossing. A man who was driving by along with his family had asked Sidhu and Sandhu to move their vehicle, leading to a heated brawl.