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Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday sought more time from the Supreme Court to surrender in the 1988 road rage case, in which his sentence was enhanced to a year’s rigorous imprisonment, saying he had some medical issues to settle.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi mentioned the request before a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar on Friday. “He will surrender but wants a few weeks to settle his medical health issues”, Singhvi told the court urging it to give Sidhu some time.
Justice Khanwilkar asked him to file a formal application and make the request before Chief Justice of India N V Ramana. “File a formal application… and mention before the Chief Justice’s court, then we will see,” said the court.
Though Sidhu was convicted for culpable homicide and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case in which a 65-year-old lost his life, the apex court set aside the verdict on May 15, 2018 and held him guilty only under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and fined him Rs 1,000. The family of the deceased, Gurnam Singh, then sought a review and enhancement of punishment.
On Thursday, a bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar enhanced the punishment for the former cricketer and ex-Punjab Congress chief to a year’s rigorous imprisonment, apart from the fine. The court said some material aspects, which were required to be taken note of, appeared to have been missed at the stage of sentencing, such as the then 25-year-old cricketer’s “physical fitness”.
The bench said there was “error apparent on the face of the record needing some remedial action”. It said “indulgence was not required to be shown at the stage of sentence by only imposing a sentence of fine and letting the respondent go without any imposition of sentence”.
According to the prosecution, Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Sandhu were in a vehicle and had an altercation with Gurnam Singh after the latter asked them to give way. Police claimed that Singh was beaten up by Sidhu, who later fled the scene. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead, the police said.
Sidhu and Sandhu were acquitted by the trial court in September 1999, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court reversed this order in December 2006 and convicted the two for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Sidhu was sentenced to three years in prison.
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