Navjot Singh Sidhu is guilty, prosecution tells SC, so what next?

Navjot Singh Sidhu
Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Punjab government’s lawyer also refuted Sidhu’s statement wherein he had denied his involvement in the case. The prosecution said that there is an eyewitness against Sidhu and he should be believed.

The Hush Post: In a major setback for Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, his own government on Thurday took a stance against him by telling the Supreme Court that the sentence pronounced by the High Court in the road-rage case against him be treated as such. Maintaining that the cricketer-turned-politician is guilty in the 1998 case, Punjab government’s lawyer also refuted Sidhu’s statement wherein he had denied his involvement in the case. The prosecution said that there is an eyewitness against Sidhu and he should be believed.

It is reported that the apex court also questioned the Punjab government’s advocate as to how the other accused, Rupinder Singh, was identified when his name was not mentioned in the FIR. The matter has been listed for hearing on Tuesday when Sidhu’s counsel will put forth his arguments.

In the meantime, a clip circulating on social media could spell more trouble for Navjot Singh Sidhu. The victim’s family has filed a fresh petition in the Supreme Court claiming that Sidhu had admitted to his crime in an interview to a private news channel in 2010. The petitioners have submitted a CD and Youtube link of the interview to the court. Sidhu’s counsel, RS Cheema, has opposed the petition stating that fresh evidence can’t accepted at this stage as the trial is over.  The appeal is under consideration in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal has demanded that Sidhu be removed from the cabinet as he has accepted that Gurnam Singh died because of his fault.

The Supreme Court has begun hearing the final arguments in the three decade old road rage case against Navjot Singh Sidhu. The Congress leader was pronounced guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2006. A friend of his, Rupinder Singh, was also convicted in the case. Both were sentenced to imprisonment of three years each. The Supreme Court, however, stayed the conviction and suspended the sentence in January 2007 after Sidhu appealed against the verdict.

The case dates back to 27 December, 1988 when Sidhu and Sandhu had gone to Sherawale market in Patiala. The two got involved into a heated argument with 65-year-old Gurnam Singh over a petty issue of car parking. Gurnam was accompanied by his nephew at the time of the incident. According to the prosecution, Sidhu, in a fit of rage dragged Gurnam out and gave him fisticuffs. Gurnam was rushed to the hospital but was declared brought dead by the doctors.

Sidhu and Sandhu were initially tried for Gurnam’s murder and acquitted by the Patiala Sessions Judge in 1999. The decision was challenged by Gurnam’s son and the state government in Punjab and Haryana High Court which had held Sidhu and Sandhu guilty.

If Supreme Court upholds Sidhu’s conviction, his political career will come to an abrupt end as he would be disqualified from electoral process for six years after his release from the jail.

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