Patiala (Punjab): Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was released from Patiala Jail on Saturday, about 10 months after he was sentenced to one-year jail by Supreme Court in a three decades old road rage case.
The Congress leader was sentenced to one year of imprisonment by the Supreme Court in May last year in the 1988 case of road rage in which he allegedly thrashed one Gurnam Singh, who later died in hospital.
Soon after getting out of the jail in Punjab’s Patiala, Sidhu said: “Democracy is in chains,” in an apparent swipe at the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NDTV reported.
“Punjab is the shield of this country. When dictatorship came in this country, a revolution also came, led by Rahul Gandhi,” Sidhu was quoted as saying.
“There is a conspiracy to impose President’s rule in Punjab. They are trying to weaken Punjab. I stand like a wall with Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and every Congress worker,” Mr Sidhu said.
“I want to ask my little brother (Chief Minister and AAP leader) Bhagwant Mann. Why did you fool the people of Punjab? You made tall promises, cracked jokes. But you are just Chief Minister on paper today,” said Mr Sidhu, who was released from jail over eight hours later from the scheduled time today. He alleged the government wanted the media to leave before releasing him.
He alleged the centre wants to impose President’s rule in the state where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a bitter rival of the BJP, is in power. His comments come amid the search for radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, whose private militia has been accused of trying to create trouble in Punjab and disturb law and order.
Punjab Minister Brahm Shankar Jimpa said on Friday that the Punjab government has no objection to Sidhu’s release.
“The issue of the release of prisoners whose sentence has been completed is approved by the cabinet. Those who have completed their sentence will be released,” Jimpa said.
The Supreme Court allowed the review application on the issue of sentence against Sidhu.
“We have allowed review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we impose a sentence of imprisonment of one year to be undergone by respondent Sidhu,” the court said.
The order was delivered by a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
The case has gone through Sessions Court, High court and Supreme Court.