Indian cricketer-turned-lawmaker gets jail in 1988 road rage case


New Delhi (Reuters) – India’s top court on Thursday ordered a one-year jail term for cricketer-turned-lawmaker Navjot Singh Sidhu for a road-rage assault case that killed a man over 30 years ago.

Sidhu, who until recently served as the head of the main opposition Congress party in the state of Punjab, was accused by an eyewitness of pulling the deceased out of his car and killing him with a blow to the head in December 1988.

The Supreme Court in 2018 ordered the former state lawmaker to pay a fine of 1000 rupees ($12.91) for voluntarily hurting a person.

However, in a ruling on Thursday following a review of its 2018 judgment, the court said it considered it “appropriate” to jail Sidhu in addition to fining him, saying “some aggravated culpability” must be attached if a person dies.

“In addition to the fine imposed, we consider it appropriate to impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of one year rigorous imprisonment,” the ruling said.

After the judgment, Sidhu said in a tweet he would “submit to the majesty of law,” without elaborating.

The former international cricketer in the northern state of Punjab was acquitted by a local court in 1999, citing lack of evidence, but subsequently convicted of culpable homicide by a High Court in 2006 and sentenced to three years in jail.

Sidhu had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, which reduced his sentence and dismissed the case after ordering the former cricketer to pay a fine, saying the incident was 30 years old and there was no history of enmity between the parties.

But the family of the deceased filed for a review of the 2018 judgment.

“A disproportionately light punishment humiliates and frustrates a victim of crime when the offender goes unpunished,” the Supreme Court said in the judgment.

($1 = 77.4820 Indian rupees)

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