The apex court on Tuesday acquitted Punjab Congress MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu under Section 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) in the 1988 Patiala road rage case.
The bench of justices, however, found him guilty of causing simple injury and charged him Rs 1000 without any jail term. The cricketer-turned-politician has been convicted under Section 323 of IPC (imprisonment of 1-2 years or a fine exceeding 1000 rupees or both).
Sidhu thanked the people of Punjab after the verdict. “I want to thank the people of Punjab, because of their prayers I have come out ten feet tall,” Sidhu told the media.
Supreme Court has also acquitted Sidhu’s aide Rupinder Singh Sandhu in the case.
Earlier in April, the Congress Govt in Punjab had asked the topmost court to uphold Sidhu’s conviction in the decades-old case. The SC had granted bail to Navjot Singh Sidhu after he was sentenced to three years imprisonment by Punjab and Haryana high court.
In December 1988, Sidhu had allegedly hit 65-year-old Gurnam Singh after getting into an altercation over a parking space in Patiala. Singh was rushed to a hospital where the doctors declared him.
Sidhu says he died of cardiac arrest and not because of punching on the head.
In September 1999, both Sidhu and Sandhu were acquitted by the trial court. However, the high court reversed the decision in December and held them guilty of culpable homicide. They were charged also fined Rs 1 lakh each. In 2007, the Supreme Court suspended Sidhu’s conviction to enable him to contest elections.
Despite the conviction, Sidhu retains his cabinet berth which is against People Act.