The Supreme Court on Tuesday (May 15) has acquitted cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in the 30-year old culpable homicide case. However, it did not result in the murder charge under the Section 304.
Meanwhile, the Bench found him guilty for Section 323 IPC (voluntarily causing hurt) and sentenced him with a fine of INR 1,000 only, as he is not liable for an imprisonment. Sidhu’s co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu also got a clean chit during the hearing.
Previously, the Punjab and Haryana High Court awarded him a three-year jail term. Sidhu, who is the tourism minister in Punjab, had allegedly hit a 65-year-old man, Gurnam Singh, on the head during an argument over the parking of a car in December 1988. Gurnam Singh later died in hospital.
The Apex body bench on April 18 reserved its verdict after hearing marathon arguments from both parties.
Ironically, on April 12, the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government had favoured the High Court’s judgment in the top court.
Previously, the state argued that the trial court was wrong in its finding. They also added that man had died of cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage.
However, the counsel for the complainant had argued that Sidhu’s sentence should be enhanced as it was a pure case of murder and the 53-year-old politician had deliberately snatched the keys of deceased’s car so that he could not get medical assistance.
The trial court acquitted Navjot Singh Sidhu of all charges in September 1999.
However, the high court had reversed the verdict and held Sidhu and Sandhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in December 2006.
In 2007, the apex court had stayed the conviction of Sidhu and Sandhu in the case. As a result, it made the way for him to contest the by-poll for Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.