The Supreme Court convicted former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu to one year in prison on Thursday in a three-decade-old road rage case in which a person died. The former Punjab Congress president was previously fined Rs. 1,000 by the court.
A Supreme Court panel of Justices AM Khanwilkar and SK Kaul expanded the extent of punishment while hearing a review petition filed by the victim’s family on the issue of Sidhu’s sentencing. However, he has not been charged with murder under this provision of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Sidhu and one of his associates, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, reportedly beat one Gurnam Singh on the head on December 27, 1998. On the day of the incident, the victim and two others were on their way to a bank to withdraw money. They requested that Sidhu and Sandhu move their car from the way, which resulted in the conflict. Gurnam Singh died later. In 2018, the Supreme Court convicted Sidhu of “voluntarily causing hurt” but acquitted him of culpable murder charges.
“We feel there is an error apparent on the face of record … therefore, we have allowed the review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we consider it appropriate to impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of one year…” the SC bench said while pronouncing the verdict.
Due to a lack of evidence, the accused were acquitted one year after the incident. The victim’s family filed a petition with the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which sentenced Sidhu and his accomplice to three years in prison and a fine of INR one lakh rupees in 2006. The order was challenged in the Supreme Court by Sidhu. The homicidal charges were dropped in 2018.
The former cricketer had told the Supreme Court that there was “no conclusive evidence to show that the single fist blow led to the death of a 65-year-old man”. He also accused the victim’s family of trying to revive the case in a “malicious attempt.”