Sidhu's conviction by HC correct, Punjab tells SC

Road rage case Navjot Sidhu goes on the back foot

The Punjab government on Thursday sought conviction of state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in a 1988 road rage case, ANI reported.

As far as what the Punjab government said in the Supreme Court, Sidhu said, "It was said openly".

Sidhu, now the Local Bodies and Tourism Minister in the Amarinder Singh government, was acquitted along with co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu by the trial court in September 1999. "The state government followed the rule of the law in the Supreme Court and has left the apex court to decide the matter on merit", a Congress leader was quoted in media reports. The lawyer present on behalf of the Punjab government said before the bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that Gurnam Singh of Patiala was killed after being punched in the head. After arguing against Mr Sidhu in the high court, it could not change its stand before the Supreme Court, they said.

The Punjab minister was initially acquitted by the Patiala sessions court in 1999.

"The continued presence of Sidhu in the Punjab cabinet is not only utterly untenable on moral grounds but is also a grave legal and constitutional absurdity, mocking the constitution of India". The SAD accused the Congress government of "shielding" him. The Punjab Government's advocate said, "There is no evidence that death is due to heart attack or brain hemorrhage. It is clear that the state government was helping Sidhu", Cheema alleged.

Concluding his arguments, Saron had said the trial court was wrong in its finding the man died of cardiac arrest and not brain hemorrhage.

In 2007, Sidhu appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court which suspended his sentence and consequently, enabled him to contest the Lok Sabha bypolls from Amritsar.

"There is not a single evidence that suggest that the cause of death was cardiac arrest and not brain hemorrhage".

"Though the government could not have taken any other stand in the apex court, other than what it had been taken in the trial and high court earlier, Sidhu deserved the court's consideration", said the Chief Minister, who is drawing flak for letting down his own minister.

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