CHANDIGARH, December 1, 2006
In a major embarrassment to Hindutva Party , ( BJP ) its high profile MP and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu was today convicted by Punjab and Haryana High Court for the death of Patiala resident Gurnam Singh in a street scuffle in 1988, overturning a lower court verdict of acquitting him in September 1999. He was convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which could face sentencing for up to 10 years.
N.S. Sidhu won from Amritsar in May 2004, trouncing veteran R.L. Bhatia, who is now the governor of Kerela. The judgment is the biggest blow to the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) alliance in the run-up to the Punjab assembly polls slated early next year.
Besides 43-year-old Sidhu, the High Court also convicted his accomplice Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, who too was acquitted by the lower court.
A division bench comprising Justices Mehtab Singh Gill and Baldev Singh found both of them guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder of Gurnam Singh in Patiala on December 27, 1988.
The court fixed December 6 for pronouncing the quantum of sentence, which could range from ten years in prison to life imprisonment.
Sidhu was in Parliament when the High Court order came. He immediately left the premises and became incommunicado.
Gurnam Singh' s family to counter Sidhu in SC
GAGANDEEP AHUJA, Punjab News Line,
Friday, 01 December 2006
PATIALA: Jaswinder Singh, nephew of deceased Gurnam Singh, complainant and eyewitness of homicide case against Navjot Singh said here Friday said that they will move to Supreme Court if Navjot Sidhu will file an appeal agaisnt his conviction.
The wife of Gurnam Singh Vimaljit kaur, who is in her mid seventies, said that Justice did not have much meaning for her after 18 years. When asked to comment she said , "What can I comment at this stage I had lost my husband 18 years ago and will have no meaning for her now as she is also almost has spent her life."
Talking to visiting media persons, in Village Ghalori, about 6 kilometers from here, Jaswinder Singh said that Sidhu should be convicted under section 302 of IPC (murder) instead of section 304 (2). He said that they were expecting severe punishment from Hon able court for Sidhu.
Interestingly on November 27 (Monday) SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal had lunch at Gurnam Singh's his during his visit to attend rally organized by Harmel Singh Tohra, son in law of late Gurcharan Singh Tohra.
When asked about their political inclination with Akali Dal he said that, " it does not have any impact on me and our family", " We have lost our family member and I am the only eyewitness who have raise the alarm on December 27, 1988 when the incident occurred near the traffic lights of State bank of Patiala.
It was pertinent to mentioned that on December 27, 1988, Jaswinder Singh, a companion of Gurnam Singh, raised the alarm saying "Marditta, marditta". Later both Navjot Singh Sidhu and his friend, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, the main accused fled from the scene. They also took away keys of Jaswinder Singh's car. Gurnam Singh was taken to Rajendra Hospital, where he was declared dead. The post mortem report had given the cause of death that -Death, due to cardiac arrest.
BJP not to ditch Sidhu
Dec 1, 2006,
New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will stand by cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu despite his conviction in a case of murder, party sources said Friday.
'We are not ditching him. The party stands by him. He was acquitted by a lower court in the same case and we are hopeful his appeal in the Supreme Court will be successful,' a BJP functionary said.
Soon after the Punjab and High Court convicted him for the 1988 death of a Patiala resident, Sidhu Friday resigned from the Lok Sabha and BJP, sending separate letters to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and BJP chief Rajnath Singh.
Sidhu was elected from Amritsar in Punjab on a BJP ticket in 2004.
BJP sources said that one of the reasons for the party supporting Sidhu was his importance as a star campaigner.
'Sidhu is expected to campaign extensively in Punjab for the assembly polls,' a BJP leader told IANS.
The BJP-Akali Dal combine is expecting to return to power in the state now ruled by the Congress.
BJP poll managers had planned to use his services not only in Punjab but also in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal that also elect new assemblies early next year.
Sidhu has a huge fan following in the two states, thanks to his fame as a cricketer who played for India from 1983 to 1999. The BJP is in the opposition in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.
'We are not sure now whether we can use him as a star campaigner. The decision will be taken by the party's strategists,' a party functionary said.
On Friday, the high court reversed a decision of a lower court in Patiala acquitting Sidhu in 1999.
The high court will announce the sentence Dec 6. Lawyers said Sidhu could be sentenced up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Sidhu was accused of causing the death of Gurnam Singh in Patiala, 90 km from here, in 1988.
The former cricketer and a friend had picked up a fight with Gurnam over the parking of a vehicle at a Patiala market. This led to a scuffle in which Gurjit was given blows by Sidhu and his friend.
He received injuries after he fell to the ground. He died of shock following the incident.
Congress attacks BJP for defending Sidhu
New Delhi, Dec 01: The Congress on Friday launched a scathing attack on the BJP for defending its MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, convicted in a road rage death, and for presenting him at a press conference in the Parliament House complex.
The party also said that JMM chief Shibu Soren should resign his seat in the Lok Sabha if stay was not granted by court in his case.
"Its condemnable that a national party (BJP) has projected a convict by bringing him into the hallowed precincts of Parliament….It is not a matter of conviction of Sidhu but the whole party standing behind him", party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.
Accusing the saffron party of teaching the lesson of morality to others (Congress), he said BJP is a party which stand by Sidhu even after his conviction in the murder case.
Asked if you failed to stand by Soren that does not mean BJP should not do so for Sidhu, Singhvi said, "We never presented to you a convict. Soren was occupying a ministerial office and resigned his position. Congress party would be the last party which will present Soren as victim".
If the Congress was for resignation of Lok Sabha seat by Soren following his conviction, Singhvi said if stay order was not granted by the court "he should resign".
On the Akali Dal`s accusation that development was keeping an eye on assembly elections in Punjab, he quipped it meant that this judgement was "well thought out and deliberate.
I think those who have said so should be ready for its consequences" but did not elaborate.
’Sidhu’s conviction unfortunate’
The Congress also termed as "unfortunate" the conviction of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for causing the death of a person.
"Whatever has happened to Navjot Singh Sidhu is unfortunate," Congress spokesman Rajiv Shukla told reporters outside Parliament.
Sidhu, a BJP MP from Amritsar, was convicted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for causing the death of a person in a scuffle in 1988.
He refused to comment on the judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. "It is not proper to comment unless the judgement is studied," he said.
BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, however, refused to draw a parallel between murder convict former Union Minister Shibu Soren and Sidhu.
"He cannot be compared with Shibu Soren because Soren was a Cabinet Minister. If an order by the court is passed to arrest and send a Cabinet Minister to jail nothing can be more ludicrous," Katiyar said.
Indian National Lok Dal MP Abhay Chautala said "law is the same for everyone and if anyone is found guilty by the law he should accept the judgement."
Sidhu's resignation can't be accepted in present form: Somnath
New Delhi, Dec. 1 (PTI): The resignation of BJP Lok Sabha member Navjot Singh Sidhu from the House has not been accepted because it is not as per rules.
Sources said Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was of the view that the resignation "cannot be accepted in its present form". Under Article 101 of the Constitution, a Lok Sabha member can resign a seat by writing under his or her hand addressed to the Speaker who will make an inquiry and reject it if he is satisfied that it is not voluntary or genuine.
Under the Rules of Procedure and Business of Conduct in the Lok Sabha, the member shall give the resignation in a format prescribed under the rules and shall not give any reason for his resignation. Rule 246 also says that provided that where any member gives any reason or introduces any extraneous reason, the Speaker may, in his discretion, omit such words, phrases or matter and the same shall not be read out in the House.
The Speaker may also accept the resignation if the member hands it over personally and informs him that the resignation is voluntary or genuine and the Speaker has no information or knowledge to the contrary. UPA sources said they were at a loss to understand how Sidhu, who consulted senior leaders, drafted an “improper” letter to the Speaker fuelling speculation that the resignation may be a “drama” intended to buy time.