SC acquits Sidhu of culpable homicide in road rage case

Sidhu acquitted in road rage case By IANS On

Sidhu acquitted in road rage case By IANS On

The Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted former cricketer and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu from culpable homicide charges in a 30-year-old road rage case for which he was awarded a three-year jail term.

Counsel for the Punjab government had told a bench of Justices comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the statement given by Sidhu denying his involvement in the case was false.

On December 27, 1988, the duo, who were in a Gypsy, got into an argument with Gurnam Singh over parking space in Patiala.

Reversing the High Court ruling, the apex court acquitted him of the serious charge of culpable homicide in the 1988 case.

On April 12 this year, the state government had supported the Punjab and Haryana High Court's order to convict Sidhu in the case. Singh died of a haemorrhage at the hospital.

Last month, Sidhu's advocate argued in the court that it was not his client's fault behind the death of the victim in the road rage case.

In September 1999, both Sidhu and Sandhu were acquitted by the trial court.

The bench of justices, however, found him guilty of causing simple injury and charged him Rs 1000 without any jail term. Though the Supreme Court conceded that Mr. Sidhu gave a single blow to the man's head, medical evidence is "absolutely uncertain" about the cause of Singh's death shortly after the run-in. The SC had granted bail to Navjot Singh Sidhu after he was sentenced to three years imprisonment by Punjab and Haryana high court. Sidhu was awarded three years in jail for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Police claimed that Singh was beaten up by Sidhu who later fled the crime scene.

"Such being the evidence on record, the conclusion of the High Court that Gurnam Singh's death is caused by subdural hemorrhage but not cardiac arrest, in our opinion, is not based on any evidence on record and is a pure conjecture".

The hearing of the appeal went on and the Punjab government sought Sidhu's conviction in the Supreme Court.

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