‘Had no other legal option’, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh defends govt stand in Navjot Singh Sidhu case

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New Delhi | Published: April 14, 2018 5:38:17 PM

The case dates to December 27, 1988, when Navjot Singh Sidhu and his cousin had thrashed a man in what was described as a road rage case.

Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab, Amarinder Singh, Supreme CourtPunjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh (Source: Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh/File)

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has defended the state government decision to  oppose the  acquittal of his minister Navjoy Singh Sidhu in a road rage case in the Supreme Court. In an official press release issued on Friday, Singh said that the government had taken only legal option available before it. He pointed out that the government could not have taken a different stand other than taken during the trial and also in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said that had the government taken a different stand, “we would have been accused of lying either now or earlier”.

Singh, however, expressed hope that the court will take Sidhu’s contribution to the society into account while delivering the final verdict. He also rejected charges of not liking the minister, saying, “Sidhu, whom I have known since the latter was a child, was a person totally above board, who went out of the way to help people in need.”

Earlier this week, the Punjab government had in the Supreme Court supported the Punjab and Haryana High Court decision to convict Sidhu in the case. The government had submitted that was no evidence to suggest that Gurnam Singh (65) had died of cardiac arrest and trial court verdict was rightly set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The case dates to December 27, 1988, when Sidhu and his cousin had thrashed a man in what was described as a road rage case.

The trial court at Patiala had acquitted Sidhu and his cousin for beating up the victim and two others. The lower court had said that medical report stated victim died of a heart attack. However, in 1999, the High Court overturned the trial court decision and observed that the sexagenarian died of injury on the temporal region. The court sentenced Sidhu to three years in jail. The HC later suspended the sentence, enabling Sidhu to appeal in the Supreme Court.

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