Former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu will surrender before a court in his hometown Patiala in Punjab on Friday in a 1988 road rage case in which the Supreme Court convicted him and sentenced him to a one-year rigorous imprisonment. A few party leaders reached his residence before his surrender to extend moral support to Sidhu, 58, a former legislator from Amritsar (East) and a three-time Amritsar MP from the BJP. Sidhu was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Narendra Modi government in April 2016. He joined the Congress party just days ahead of the Assembly elections in February 2017. Earlier, Patiala District Congress Committee chief Narinder Pal Lali said Sidhu would reach the court at 10.30 a.m. for surrender and asked the supporters to reach the court complex around 9.30 a.m. It is now learnt that he will surrender post-lunch in the court.
Sidhu's wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who represented Amritsar (East) as the SAD-BJP combine candidate from 2012-17, reached Patiala from Amritsar on Thursday night. With the apex court imposing the imprisonment, Sidhu said he "will submit to the majesty of law". "Will submit to the majesty of law...," Sidhu, who is not averse to even sharp criticism of his own party and its policies and leaders, said in a tweet on Thursday. The judgment came when Sidhu, riding on an elephant, was staging a protest, along with party workers, against price rise in Patiala where the incident of road rage was reported in 1988. The apex court, which reserved the judgment in March, overturned its 2018 judgment, which had reduced the punishment for Sidhu in the case, after a review petition was filed by the family of Gurnam Singh, who had died in the incident. On December 27, 1988, the cricketer-turned-politician and one of his friends, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, had on December 27, 1988, hit Gurnam Singh, 65, on his head near the Sheranwala Gate crossing in Patiala. Police said Sidhu fled from the scene after committing the crime. Gurnam Singh was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead. Sidhu said Gurnam Singh died of a cardiac arrest and not because he was punched in the head.
Sidhu 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. It sentenced them to three years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each. Both Sidhu and Sandhu filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, which stayed their conviction in 2007. In 2018, the Supreme Court acquitted him of culpable homicide and convicted him of causing hurt in a road rage case in which one person died. In February 2022, the apex court agreed to hear a plea seeking review of its May 15, 2018 verdict, where it let off Sidhu with a mere Rs 1,000 fine.