Navjot Singh Sidhu road rage case: Congress leader and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was released from Patiala jail today (April 1), approximately 10 months after he was sentenced to one-year jail by Supreme Court in a three decades old road rage case.
Earlier, Punjab Minister Brahm Shankar Jimpa said that the state government has no objection to this. "The issue of release of prisoners whose sentence has been completed is approved by the cabinet. Those who have completed their sentence will be released," he added as per the news agency ANI.
Notably, the former Punjab Congress chief is undergoing a year's rigorous imprisonment in jail in connection to a 1988 road rage case. "This is to inform everyone that Sardar Navjot Singh Sidhu will be released from Patiala Jail tomorrow. (As informed by the concerned authorities)," a tweet from Sidhu's handle said on Friday. According to jail officials, the 59-year-old politician would be prematurely released for his good conduct. His scheduled release from jail was May 16.
Supporters throng Patiala jail to welcome Sidhu
Several Congress leaders and supporters assembled outside the prison to accord the 59-year-old former cricketer a grand welcome upon his release and chanted 'Navjot Sidhu zindabad'. 'Dhol' players have also been arranged by his supporters standing outside the jail to welcome the cricketer-turned-politician.
Speaking to reporters at his residence on Saturday, Sidhu's son Karan Sidhu said the family has been eagerly waiting for his release from jail. He said it had been a tough time for the family but now they were happy to see him coming out of jail.
Several posters and hoardings of Navjot Sidhu were put up at many places in Patiala city by Sidhu's supporters to welcome him.
What is the case?
In 1988, Navjot Singh Sidhu was accused in a road rage incident. The lawsuit concerns the death of Gurnam Singh in December 1988 following an assault by Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu. On December 27, 1988, Sindhu and Sandhu hit Gurnam Singh on his head near the Sheranwala Gate crossing in Patiala. Police had said Sidhu fled from the scene after committing the crime. Gurnam Singh was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead. However, Sidhu claimed that Gurnam Singh died of cardiac arrest and not because he was punched in the head.
On May 19, 2022, Sidhu was sentenced to one year of imprisonment by the Supreme Court in connection with the case. However, the apex court had allowed the review application on the issue of the sentence against Sidhu. "We have allowed review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we impose a sentence of imprisonment of one year to be undergone by respondent Sidhu," the top court contended.
Earlier, the court had reserved the review petition in the case filed by the family of the victim. Sidhu opposed the plea seeking to enlarge the scope of the road rage case against him citing earlier order of the apex court, which held that there was no evidence that the death of the victim was caused by a single blow in the road rage case.
ALSO READ: 'Waiting for you each day...': Sidhu's wife suffers from cancer, pens emotional letter to jailed husband
Sidhu's wife pens emotional note
A few days before Sidhu's wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, revealed that she has been diagnosed with stage 2 cancer and underwent surgery. Navjot Kaur Sidhu shared the news on Twitter, as she penned a heartfelt note for her husband who is serving a one-year sentence at Patiala Central Jail after being convicted in a road rage case.
"He is in the prison for a crime he has not committed. Forgive all those involved. Waiting for you each day outside probably suffering more than you. As usual, trying to take your pain away, asked for sharing it. Happened to see a small growth, and knew it was bad," tweeted Navjot Kaur Sidhu.
Sidhu was acquitted by trial court in 1999
It is pertinent to mention here that Sidhu's case has gone through Session Court, High court and Supreme Court. The Congress leader was acquitted of the murder charges by a trial court in September 1999. However, the Punjab High Court reversed the verdict and held Sidhu and his co-accused guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in December 2006.
(With inputs from agencies)