The Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a 1988 road rage case, but convicted him for voluntarily causing hurt under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code, ANI reported.
The top court fined Sidhu without any jail term, The Times of India reported. The Supreme Court exonerated the co-accused in the case of all charges.
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 haemorrhage.
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 the 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.
Sidhu is the cultural affairs minister in the Congress-led government in Punjab. He and his wife had both resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party on September 14, 2016. He joined the Congress in January 2017.