The Punjab government on Thursday sought conviction of state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in a 1988 road rage case, ANI reported. The Punjab government’s counsel told the Supreme Court that Sidhu had lied about his involvement in the case.
The case dates back to December 1988 when the cricketer-turned-politician had allegedly beaten up 65-year-old Gurnam Singh, in a case of road rage. The man received injuries to his head, and subsequently died of brain hemorrhage.
The victim’s family told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the High Court’s sentence should be enhanced, ANI reported. The Punjab government appealed to the Supreme Court to uphold the High Court’s verdict.
A trial court had acquitted Sidhu, saying that the man had died following a heart attack. However, in September 1999, the Punjab and Haryana High Court convicted Sidhu and his accomplice for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The High Court said that Gurnam Singh did not die of cardiac arrest, but injury on the temporal region. The court also said that it was not a premeditated murder, but Sidhu had beaten up the victim on the spur of the moment. It sentenced him to jail for three years.
But High Court suspended the sentences to allow Sidhu and his accomplice to approach the Supreme Court. The top court later suspended Sidhu’s conviction, to enable him to contest elections.
The Supreme Court commenced hearing the final arguments in the case on Thursday, nearly 30 years after the man died. On Wednesday, counsel of the family of the complainant, Sidharth Luthra, told the court that just because the death did not happen immediately after the attack does not change the nature of the offence, Live Law reported.
Sidhu is the cultural affairs minister in the Congress-led government in Punjab. Sidhu and his wife had both resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party on September 14, 2016. He joined the Congress in January 2017.