These are the basic details of the road rage incident involving Navjot Sidhu. There is a big question mark over the chances of Navjot Singh Sidhu walking out at number three for India in the West Indies two months from now. The cricketer was booked on charges of ‘culpable murder’ in Patiala on December 27.
According to reports from Patiala, Navjot Sidhu’s car was hit in the rear by the car of Gurnam Singh Ghalouri at around 12.30 p.m. at the busy Mall Road intersection. It is very close to the Patiala State Bank, where Sidhu is employed. The occupants of both cars stepped out.
In the altercation that followed, Gurnam Singh, who was in his fifties, was seriously injured. It has not yet been established whether he died on the spot or on the way to the hospital. Sidhu is believed to have rushed back home, picked up his wife and child, and left immediately for Chandigarh.
Soon the police registered an FIR against Sidhu and his companion Rupinder Singh Sandhu under Section 304/34, IPC, in the Patiala city of Kotwali. According to the post-mortem report, Gurnam Singh received head injuries. However, medical sources were unwilling to ascertain the nature of the victim’s death until the results of the pathological tests were submitted. The fallout of the incident was unexpectedly tense.
Gurnam Singh Ghalouri belonged to a family of influential zamindars. Besides, he was a prominent leader of a truck owners’ union and a brick kiln owner as well. Sidhu himself is no less influential. His father was the former advocate-general of Punjab and was extremely popular during his tenure. Sidhu’s counsel was his father’s munshi. But despite his clout, Sidhu, accompanied by a dozen hefty young men, a couple of them heavily armed, was tense. He refused to speak to the press.
Meanwhile, his lucky blue cap stayed in place, even in the courtroom. The relatives of the deceased also refused to talk. Their single biggest grouse was that the press and the public were out to protect the accused. The prosecution lawyer, Jagmohan Singh Saini, thought that Sidhu lacked proper advice. “If the death was accidental, all Sidhu had to do was send a family member or a friend to the funeral and pay condolences to the family,” he said.
Navjot Sidhu’s immediate boss at the bank, Mr. VP Singh, explained that the site of the accident was particularly accident-prone. “The traffic lights don’t function properly at Battiwali Chowk There are at least three accidents there a week,” he said. “If the death was accidental, all Sidhu had to do was send a family member or a friend to the funeral and pay condolences to the family,” said the prosecution lawyer.
Bishan Singh Bedi thought that the murder appeared to have been done on very flimsy grounds. “Car accidents are a regular occurrence,” he said, “but do not lead to murder. However, Sidhu does seem to be guilty, as he runs away and hides. If he was innocent, he should have stayed on the spot. I am surprised at Sidhu’s behavior. On the surface, he seems like a very quiet person. But by not giving himself up, he has added to his guilt. Public sympathy may not also be with him, as he has murdered an old man.
I feel that he and his friend overreacted hastily.” Lala Amarnath couldn’t believe the news. “Navjot Sidhu is a very quiet boy who does not look like the type who can beat anyone up fatally. I am shocked. When we last met, he was calm and normal.”
Chetan Chauhan also felt that the incident was not associated with Sidhu. “It is unbelievable,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”
Navjot Sidhu case is really special is confirmed by the fact that, for the first time in years, an interim bail has been granted in Section 304 to Navjot Sidhu and his companion.
There is a possibility that Navjot Sidhu may get away with light punishment, even for as little as three months. With a little lobbying from the cricketer’s side, the sentence could start after he returns from the West Indies. If ever it starts at all.
Road rage incident involving Navjot Sidhu
Road rage incident involving Navjot Sidhu. Source