Navjot Sidhu: India’s cricketer-turned-politician given one-year jail term in road rage case

Flamboyant politician known for his oratory skills convicted for hitting a senior citizen that led to his death

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 19 May 2022 18:35
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<p>Former Punjab congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu ahead of election in 2022</p>

Former Punjab congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu ahead of election in 2022

India’s cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has been given a one-year “rigourous imprisonment” sentence by the country’s Supreme Court in a 34-year-old road rage case.

Sidhu, a flamboyant politician known for his oratory skills, is also a former international cricketer who played for India in a career spanning 19 years.

On Thursday, he was convicted for hitting 65-year-old Gurnam Singh in a dispute over parking in his home state Punjab’s Patiala city in 1988 that led to the man’s death in hospital.

The Supreme Court ruled Sidhu had “intentionally caused hurt” to the senior citizen.

According to the prosecution, Sidhu beat up Mr Singh then fled the scene. The 65-year-old died in hospital.

Sidhu, responding to the conviction, tweeted he would “submit to the majesty of law”.

The former cricketer was initially convicted on the more serious charge of manslaughter in 2006 by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which handed him a three-year jail term.

The decision had forced him to resign as an elected lawmaker from the parliamentary seat of Amritsar city, as Indian laws do not allow convicted individuals to hold political positions.

But he had appealed against the verdict in the Supreme Court, leading to the decision being overturned. The manslaughter charge against him was dropped and he was instead found guilty of “voluntarily causing hurt” and given a fine of Rs 1,000 (£10).

Sidhu then went on to fight by-elections.

The family of the victim sought a review of the verdict and said there was an “error apparent on the face of the records” in the judgement which hold him guilty only for causing hurt.

On Thursday, the punishment was expanded to a year of “rigorous imprisonment” but charges of manslaughter remained dropped.

Sidhu had been India’s opening batsman and was earning accolades at the time of the incident.

He also had a career as a television personality.

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