Almost three-months after his own Government sought Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's conviction and jail term in 1988 road rage case, the Supreme Court's order on Tuesday not only came as a breather but also expected to give a major boost to his political career.
A Bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul is likely to pronounce its verdict at 10.30 am on tuesday.
According to the prosecution, the duo who were in a Gypsy had an altercation with Gurnam Singh near the Sheranwala Gate Crossing on December 27, 1988 when the latter asked them to give way to their vehicle. However, in September 1999, the Punjab and Haryana High Court convicted Sidhu and his accomplice for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The apex court, however, spared him jail term in the 30-year-old case, where Sidhu voluntarily caused hurt to 65-year-old Gurnam Singh.
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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. The incident dates to December 27, 1988 when Sidhu and his cousin had beaten up Gurnam Singh and two others in what was described as a road rage case. The SC had granted bail to Navjot Singh Sidhu after he was sentenced to three years imprisonment by Punjab and Haryana high court. Awarded no sentence but fine of Rs 1,000 for the offence.
It also acquitted Sidhu's aide Rupinder Singh Sandhu of all charges saying there was no trustworthy evidence regarding his presence along with Sidhu at the time of the offence. The injured was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.
The hearing of the appeal went on and the Punjab government sought Sidhu's conviction in the Supreme Court. It was claimed by the prosecution that Sidhu had even fled the scene of the crime. The man received injuries to his head, and subsequently died of brain haemorrhage.
In 2007, the apex court stayed the conviction of Sidhu and Sandhu in the case, paving the way for him to contest the by-poll for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.