Sidhu not guilty of culpable murder: SC

Sidhu acquitted in road rage case

Sidhu acquitted in road rage case

In a big relief to Congress leader and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court has absolved him of the culpabale homicide charge for which the high court had awarded him three-year jail in 2006.

The tourism minister in the Amarinder Singh government, Sidhu had hit a 65-year-old man, Gurnam Singh, on the head during an argument over the parking of a auto in December 1988. However, the Punjab and Haryana high court found the former cricketer guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and overturned the trial court's verdict. The 55-year-old cricketer-turned-politician won't go to jail and will retain his portfolio in the Punjab government. It was alleged that when they had reached the crossing, Gurnam Singh, driving a Maruti vehicle, found the Gypsy in the middle of the road and asked the occupants, Sidhu and Sandhu, to remove it.

Senior advocate R S Cheema representing Sidhu, had questioned the evidence brought on record by the prosecution, saying "the most baffling and disturbing issue in the case is what we have on record with regard to the cause of death".

On April 12 this year, the Punjab government supported the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court convicting the minister.

A two-judge bench, comprising Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul convicted Sidhu under Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC and fined him Rs 1,000 for the offence.

A trial court had acquitted him and another of murder, but the HC reversed the verdict and awarded them three-year jail terms.

The court also acquitted the other accused, his cousin Rupinder Singh Sandhu, of all charges.

Sidhu then beat up Singh.

Both Sidhu and Sandhu filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, which stayed their conviction in 2007, paving the way for Sidhu to contest the by-poll for Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. The victim was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.

The state said there was no evidence to suggest that Gurnam Singh died of cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage.

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