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THE SUPREME Court on Wednesday revived Navjot Singh Sidhu’s trial under the election law in connection with alleged malpractice during 2009 Lok Sabha elections, when the cricketer-turned-politician was elected from Amritsar. A bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed charges of corruption against Sidhu, who is gearing up for a new political innings in Punjab after resigning from the Rajya Sabha as a BJP MP, but said he will have to stand trial for allegedly getting a Punjab government official transferred to seek his help.
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The bench observed, “The allegation in the election petition is that the post to which Jagjit Singh Suchu was transferred from the Punjab State Electricity Board was under the state government and the assistance received by the returned candidate (Sidhu) from the said person is while he was rendering service as Additional Superintending Engineer — while he was performing the duties in the state government. If that be so, the aforesaid issue also will have to go for a full trial as ordered by the High Court.”
The court rejected Sidhu’s appeal as far as his trial for getting assistance by a government official was concerned and said the proceedings before the High Court will recommence.
Congress candidate Om Prakash Soni had sought quashing of Sidhu’s election on the grounds that he had filed incorrect and deflated amount of his election expenditure apart from also getting a state government official transferred to get help.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered Sidhu’s trial under the election law on these charges, compelling the former MP to move in appeal.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had unsuccessfully contested from Amritsar constituency for the BJP in 2014 after Sidhu’s term ended. Jaitley had lost to Amarinder Singh of Congress.