In a relief for Punjab cabinet minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court yesterday acquitted him of culpable homicide and convicted him of causing hurt in a 1988 road rage case in which one person died.
Despite the conviction, Sidhu retains his cabinet berth. As per the Representation of the People Act, any person convicted of an offence or crime and punished for a term of two or more years is immediately disqualified as a lawmaker.
The Supreme Court fined Sidhu Rs 1,000 and did not give him a jail term, reports Hindustan Times. The Congress politician was convicted under Section 222 (causing hurt) of the India Penal Code, under which he faced up to a year in jail or a fine or both.
Sidhu thanked the people of Punjab after the verdict. "I want to thank the people of Punjab, because of their prayers I have come out ten feet tall. I have sent a message to Rahul Gandhi ji & Priyanka Gandhi ji that my life is yours," ANI quoted Sidhu saying.
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 car in December 1988. Singh later died in a hospital.
Sidhu said Singh died of a cardiac arrest and not because he was punched in the head. The former cricketer was acquitted of the murder charges by a trial court in September 1999. However, the Punjab high court reversed the
verdict and held Sidhu and his co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in December 2006. It sentenced them to three years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each.
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.Sandhu was also was acquitted by the Supreme Court.
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