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.
In 1999, the trial court in Patiala had acquitted Sidhu and his cousin saying the medical report stated that the death was due to a heart attack.
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.
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As per the prosecution case, Sidhu and Sandhu were allegedly present in a Gypsy parked near Sheranwala Gate Crossing on December 27, 1988, when Gurnam Singh, Jaswinder Singh and one other were going to the bank to withdraw money for a marriage function. "I have sent a message to Rahul Gandhi ji & Priyanka Gandhi ji that my life is yours", ANI quoted the Congress minister soon after the Supreme Court acquitted Sindhu in the road rage case.
The prosecution had argued that Sidhu and co-convict Rupinder Singh Sandhu were allegedly present in a Maruti Gypsy parked near Sheranwala Gate crossing in Patiala on 27 December 1988, while the victim, Gurnam Singh, was on his way to a bank in a Maruti vehicle with two others.
The state also thrashed the defence out up by Sidhu that the victim had died of cardiac arrest and said, "there is not a single evidence which suggest that the cause of death was cardiac arrest and not brain hemorrhage". Police claimed that Singh was beaten up by Sidhu who later fled the crime scene. Gurnam was declared dead after he was rushed to a hospital.
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The Punjab and Haryana High Court, however, had later reversed that order, finding him guilty under Section 304 Part II of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
In 2007, the Supreme Court had stayed Sidhu's conviction and had granted him bail.
The victim's family has appealed to the SC to enhance the three year jail time given by the lower court.
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