Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu walked out of jail on Saturday evening after spending 10 months in a jail in Punjab’s Patiala city in a road rage case.
The Congress leader had surrendered before a Patiala court in May after the Supreme Court sentenced him to one year in jail in the case. Sidhu had hit a person named Gurnam Singh on December 27, 1988 following an argument. Singh had died after the incident.
After being released, Sidhu alleged that he was supposed to be out much earlier, but the jail authorities delayed the procedure as they wanted mediapersons to leave. He also told reporters that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will put an end to what he described as dictatorship in the country.
“Whenever a dictatorship came to this country, a revolution has also come and this time, the name of that revolution is Rahul Gandhi,” he said. “He will rattle the government.”
Sidhu also alleged that a conspiracy was being planned to put Punjab under President’s rule.
A huge crowd of Sidhu’s supporters and Congress leaders had gathered outside the jail to welcome him. Earlier on Saturday, the Congress leader’s son Karan Sidhu had also expressed unhappiness over the delay in the Congress leader’s release from the jail.
“After every hour, they [jail authorities] are telling us to wait for one more hour,” said Karan Sidhu. “It is creating doubt...after seeing a huge crowd and the media, they may be delaying it. It can be called politics or anything. I asked two to three times and they said he (Sidhu) is definitely being released.”
The road rage case
In September 1999, a trial court had acquitted Sidhu of all charges in the case.
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.