A day after the Punjab government favoured a court verdict convicting Navjot Singh Sidhu in a 30-year-old road rage case, the minister tried to put on a fearless face, saying he was ready to carry "any burden" that he may have to because of his own government's stance, even as Opposition demanded his resignation.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have sought Sidhu's immediate resignation from the council of ministers following the state government's endorsement of his conviction in a murder case. None other than Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is reported to have said that Sidhu should be prosecuted in the 1988 Patiala road rage case.
During a hearing in the apex court on Navjot Singh Sidhu's matter, the ruling Congress government said, "There is no evidence that the person in the road rage died because of a heart attack".
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The Supreme Court commenced hearing the final arguments in the case on Thursday, almost 30 years after the man died. The Punjab government counsel told the SC on Thursday submitted that the statement given by Sidhu denying his involvement in 1988 road rage case was false.
Family of the victim has appealed to the Supreme Court that earlier imprisonment sentence of three years given by Punjab and Haryana High Court should be enhanced.
The Punjab minister was initially acquitted by the Patiala sessions court in 1999. "Accused A1 (Navjot Singh Sidhu) had given fiesty blow to deceased Gurnam Singh leading to his death through brain hemorrhage", the state government counsel told the bench.
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Accusing the Congress government of playing a fixed match with Sidhu, the SAD demanded that the government must stop shielding the murder convict sitting amidst them in cabinet meetings. "It is clear that the state government was helping Sidhu", Cheema alleged. The man received injuries to his head, and subsequently died of brain hemorrhage.
Concluding his arguments, Saron said the trial court was wrong in its finding the man died of cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage.
A trial court had discharged Mr Sidhu, but the High Court reversed it and held him guilty of culpable homicide in 2006. In 2007, the apex court stayed their conviction.
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