FORMER CRICKETER and BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday, for causing the death of Gurnam Singh in a road rage incident in Patiala in 1988.
The sentence was suspended till January 31, 2007 to enable Sidhu to appeal to the Supreme Court.
On December 1, the court had held Sidhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, overturning a 1999 lower court’s ruling acquitting him. After the verdict, Sidhu, BJP MP from Amritsar, had resigned from the Lok Sabha.
The court pronounced the same suspended sentence on Sidhu’s friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu, who was with him at the time of the incident, and who too had been found guilty. The court directed both of them to furnish bail bonds of Rs 10,000 and surety of an equal amount before the chief judicial magistrate, Chandigarh, on or before December 8.
Sidhu and Sandhu were accused of beating up Gurnam Singh, who was in another car, after an altercation with him, causing his death.
Justices Mehtab Singh Gill and Baldev Singh also directed Sidhu and Sandhu to pay fines of Rs 1 lakh each. Of this, Rs 1.9 lakh was to be paid to Gurnam Singh’s widow and the rest to the complainant Jaswinder Singh, who was with the victim when the incident occurred.
Sidhu, with BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley by his side in the court, said being a sportsman he could take defeats in his stride, but his moral standards would never waver. “I am happy that the entire nation is with me," he added.