Of road rage death in 1988
Quantum of punishment to be pronounced on December 6Ripples on Punjab political scene
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday convicted Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu of causing the death of a middle-aged man in a road rage in Patiala in 1988. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on December 6.
A Division Bench, comprising Justices Mehtab Singh Gill and Baldev Singh, set aside a September 1999 order of the Patiala District and Sessions Court, acquitting Mr. Sidhu, who was then in the Indian cricket team.
In a quarrel over parking vehicles on December 27, 1988 in the high traffic zone of Sheranwala gate on December 27, 1988, Mr. Sidhu delivered blows to Gurnam Singh, who died later. Mr. Sidhu and his friend were booked and tried under Section 304(II) of the IPC.
Attempts to contact Mr. Sidhu's family in Patiala, after the judgment, proved futile. Reports said the reaction in Amritsar was mixed. While some felt that Mr. Sidhu must get punishment befitting his aggressive act, some others favoured leniency as he performed well as a representative of the people of Amritsar since 2004.
Jaswinder Singh, nephew of Gurnam Singh, who was pursuing the case, told reporters in Patiala that though delayed, justice prevailed. In Chandigarh, Jasvir Kaur, daughter of the deceased, said the conviction was a balm to the family, which suffered for the past 18 years.
The judgment has caused ripples in Punjab, where Assembly elections are due by March next. As one of the most popular faces of the BJP, Mr. Sidhu was slated to lead the party's campaign. There was speculation thathe would be fielded against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Patiala.
Hours after the conviction, Mr. Sidhu submitted his resignation to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. But sources said Mr. Chatterjee was of the view that the resignation ``cannot be accepted in its present form.''
Mr. Sidhu said he would not give a fresh letter of resignation.