Will Navjot Sidhu go to jail? Supreme Court to decide on Tuesday

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Almost three-months after his own Government sought Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's conviction and jail term in 1988 road rage case, the Supreme Court's order on Tuesday not only came as a breather but also expected to give a major boost to his political career.

Counsel for the Punjab government had told a bench of Justices comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the statement given by Sidhu denying his involvement in the case was false.

The tourism minister in the Amarinder Singh government, Sidhu had hit a 65-year-old man, Gurnam Singh, on the head during an argument over the parking of a auto in December 1988. Singh died of a haemorrhage at the hospital later.

Senior advocate R S Cheema representing Sidhu, had questioned the evidence brought on record by the prosecution, saying "the most baffling and disturbing issue in the case is what we have on record with regard to the cause of death".

Cricketer turned poltician, Sidhu and Sandhu were initially tried for murder, but the trial court in September 1999 acquitted the Congress leader.

"Navjot Singh Sidhu acquitted under section 304 (II){culpable homicide not amounting to murder} and convicted under section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) in 1988 road rage case by Supreme Court", tweeted news agency ANI. Co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu, the current Punjab Tourism Minister was acquitted of all charges.

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But the High Court suspended the sentences to allow Sidhu and his accomplice to approach the Supreme Court.

The high court sentenced them to three-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on the convicts. Police claimed that Gurnam was beaten up by Sidhu, who later fled the crime scene.

Earlier in April, the Congress government in Punjab has asked the Supreme Court to uphold Sidhu's conviction in the decades-old case.

A confirmation of the high court order would have led to the disqualification of Sidhu from the legislature and the government as per the Representation of the People Act.

The High Court said that Gurnam Singh did not die of cardiac arrest, but injury on the temporal region.

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