|Sidhu in judicial custody,
in Patiala jail
Patiala, January 11
Beleaguered former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu was brought to the local Central Jail in a police gypsy, trailed by a cavalcade of 12-odd cars carrying his slogan-shouting supporters, after a Chandigarh court remanded him in judicial custody today evening.
Both, former cricketer-cum-commentator and co-accused in the case, Rupinder Sandhu, were taken inside the jail at 4.45 pm. After completing the requisite formalities Sidhu was immediately lodged inside a cell reserved for VVIP inmates. Earlier, the same cell was home to tainted former PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu and suspended Himachal Pradesh ADGP B.S Thind.
Sources said during the 70-minute drive from Chandigarh, Sidhu remained cool and often indulged in his trademark ‘Sidhuism’ with the cops accompanying him. He will be spending the night in the jail, which is barely a kilometer away from his posh Century enclave residence.
A Patiala Police team led by an officer of the rank of the DSP had stationed itself on the premises of the Punjab and Haryana High Court since morning and whisked Sidhu away to Patiala once the court announced its judgement.
Just before Sidhu's arrival, hundreds of BJP and SAD supporters assembled in front of the jail and started shouting pro-Sidhu and anti-Capt Amarinder Singh’s slogans. Both, Mr Indermohan Singh Bajaj, SAD President (Patiala urban), and Mr Anil Bajaj, President of the local unit of the BJP, were present at the spot. A police team, under the supervision of Mandeep Singh Sidhu, SP (city) and Jagmohan Singh, DSP (city 2), had stationed itself near the jail to prevent any untoward incident.
Meanwhile, a senior Congress
leader’s visit to the jail, prior to the arrival of Sidhu and Rupinder
Sandhu has raised many eyebrows even as the police remained tight lipped
on the issue. Sidhu is the third star Akali Dal campaigner to be sent to
the jail after Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Sukhbir Singh Badal, were
lodged in the same jail two years ago in connection with a Vigilance case.
CHANDIGARH: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and popular television presenter Navjyot Singh Sidhu was sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment on Wednesday in the case involving him in death due to road rage 18 years ago.
Giving the quantum of punishment, Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Baldev Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court suspended the sentence till January 31 to enable Sidhu to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court. Effectively, this means that he won’t be arrested now.
Extending similar relief, the court also sentenced the other convict in the case, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, who happens to be the former cricketer’s friend to three years' rigorous imprisonment.
Both of them were fined
Rs one lakh each and were directed to furnish a bail bond on or before
Navjot Sidhu convicted
in murder case
A division bench comprising Justices Mehtab Singh Gill and Baldev Singh found 43-year-old Sidhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and fixed December 6 for pronouncing the quantum of sentence.
Patiala district and session judge had acquitted Sidhu in September 1999 of the charge of causing death to Gurnam Singh following a scuffle. The Punjab government went to the High Court challenging the lower court verdict.
Sidhu, who was in Delhi when the judgement was pronounced, could face sentence upto life imprisonment. An FIR registered on December 27, 1988 alleged that Sidhu and Bhupinder Singh Sandhu hit Gurnam Singh after dragging him out his car.
Public Prosecutor Vinod Ghai
said that Sidhu had admitted to the crime at the time of occurrence and
that he had no enmity with the deceased. Sidhu, he said, was named in the
"I have written letters to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and party leaders LK Advani and Rajnath Singh and have sought their permission to quit as an MP," he told reporters here.
The Amritsar MP said he was also sending a copy of this letter to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
He said he was also having consultation with his lawyers over the ruling against him.
"But I have, in the meantime, told my party leaders in writing that I want to quit as an MP," Sidhu said.
One of the star campaigners of the BJP-Akali alliance in Punjab ahead of the state assembly elections, Sidhu, however, refused comment on the judgement.
"I want to resign on moral grounds. For me, no office is bigger than idealism or truth," the 43-year-old cricketer- turned-politician said.
When asked whether he will be appealing against the judgement in the Supreme Court, he said, "an appeal could be made but I am not going into the technicalities right now." Sidhu is likely to meet BJP chief Rajnath Singh and senior leader Arun Jaitley, who is in-charge of Punjab affairs in the party.
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