The Supreme Court on Tuesday concluded that Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was not guilty of culpable homicide in a 30-year-old road rage case which resulted in the death of a man. A bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul had reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments on 18 April.
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In doing so, the apex court set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court's verdict in the 1988 road rage case. "But, as noticed, the medical evidence is absolutely uncertain regarding the cause of death of Gurnam Singh", the bench said.
The Supreme Court today convicted Sidhu for voluntarily hurting a 65-year-old man but spared him a jail term. In 2006, the High Court sentenced Sidhu and another accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu to 3 years imprisonment, but after 1999 trial, both the victim got bail.
Sidhu, who quit the BJP and joined Congress before the previous Punjab assembly elections and is now the Tourism Minister of Punjab - and Sandhu were acquitted by the trial court in September 1999. A jail sentence of more than two years would have put to an end his political inning as the law says that an MP, MLA or an MLC immediately loses his seat on conviction and is barred from contesting elections for six years, after the end of the sentence. Sidhu, also, will not be spending any time in jail, with the top court imposing a fine on him, according to reports. Police claimed that Gurnam was beaten up by Sidhu, who later fled the crime scene. The victim was later taken to a hospital where he was declared dead. There is not a single evidence that suggests that the cause of death was a cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage.
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