Former cricketer and BJP MP Navjyot Singh Sidhu was today sentenced to three years' rigorous imprisonment in the case involving him in a road rage incident which resulted in a death 18 years ago.Giving the quantum of punishment, Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Baldev Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court suspended the sentence till January 31 to enable Sidhu file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.
Extending similar relief, the court also sentenced the other convict in the case, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, to three years' rigorous imprisonment.Both of them were fined Rs 1 lakh each, and were directed to furnish a bail bond on or before December 8.
Party leaders indicated that they would be using him extensively inPunjab and that Sidhu would be pitched against Punjab Chief MinisterAmarinder Singh. Sidhu said he would appeal in the Supreme Court.
Askedif he would have considered running for the chief minister's post hadhe not been convicted, he refused to consider any ifs. “If my aunt hada moustache wouldn't she have become my uncle? These are imponderables,” he said.
The district and sessions judge at Patiala had on September 22, 1999acquitted Sidhu in a case registered under Section 304 and 34 IPC.
It was at a parking lot in Patiala that Gurnam Singh died on December 27, 1988.
Sidhuwas about to get inside his Gyspy when Gurnam and his two nephews,Jasvinder and Avtaar, drove into the parking lot in their Maruti.
Since the road was narrow, a heated argument broke out on who would move their car first.
Gurnam's nephews claim Sidhu dragged the 65-year-old out of his car and began hitting him.
Gurnam fell and Sidhu's friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu started beating one of Gurnam's nephews.
Theother nephew ran for help, but by the time they could take Gurnam to ahospital, he had died. Doctors said it was due to a heart attack.
Sidhu and his friend apparently fled from the spot.
Sidhu in his defence has always claimed that it was a minor scuffle, but the incident derailed his cricket career.
"If you get into an argument with some one on the street, you don't intentionally kill him. You cannot change destiny, but everyone feels bad for the loss of their loved ones," said Sidhu.
Initially, he got a verdict in his favor from the sessions court, but today, more than seven years after his acquittal, the court said there was enough evidence to prove he was guilty of culpable homicide, though it did not accept a murder charge.
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