Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu will walk out of the Patiala Central Jail on Saturday after undergoing sentence in the 1988 road rage case — being released prematurely “as per policy” before the completion of his one-year rigorous imprisonment.
Punjab Congress former president, Sidhu, was lodged in Patiala Jail on May 20, the previous year after he surrendered before a Patiala court. The Supreme Court had awarded Sidhu one-year rigorous imprisonment in a review petition in a 1988 road rage case, wherein 65-year-old Gurnam Singh had died allegedly after being assaulted by the former cricketer in an argument over parking.
The information regarding his release was shared by his team by tweeting from Navjot Singh Sidhu’s official Twitter handle. “This is to inform everyone that Sardar Navjot Singh Sidhu will be released from Patiala Jail tomorrow. (As informed by the concerned authorities)” read the tweet.
Later, Punjab Cabinet Minister Aman Arora, in a media interaction, also maintained that Sidhu was being released on Saturday “as per policy”. However, the Patiala jail authorities are yet to confirm his release.
At the same time, his supporters and Congress leaders, especially in Amritsar and Patiala, have made arrangements to welcome their senior leader. Several of them have planned to reach Patiala jail.
Congress’ former MLA Sunil Dutti said that a large number of Congress leaders from Majha region were going to Patiala on Saturday. “We are taking a cavalcade of hundreds of vehicles to receive our leader from whom not only every Congressmen but every Indian have high hopes for the well-being of the nation,” he said.
It has been learnt that after release, Sidhu would first go to his home in Patiala, and then visit Amritsar in a next couple of days.
A Congress leader, on the basis of anonymity, said that the party has made up its mind to give a big responsibility to Sidhu on his release. “Everything, and in fact so much has been planned for Sidhu in the Congress…The wait is now over. He will soon be having big responsibility upon his shoulders,” said the leader.
During his stay inside the jail, Sidhu is said to have lost over 30 kgs, following a strict diet and practicing yoga and exercise. Acing health issues in the jail initially, Sidhu had sought special diet provision from the Court on health grounds, including embolism and a liver ailment, following which a Board of Directors on the Court’s directions examined Sidhu and recommended him a special diet.
Later in July, Sidhu also lodged a complaint with the jail authorities alleging that his canteen card was misused by his co-inmates to whom he gave his card to bring some special diet recommended by the board of doctors. The inmate was shifted after Sidhu’s complaint.
Sidhu was assigned clerical work inside Patiala jail, and worked from his barrack due to security reasons.
Even as several Congress leaders had visited Sidhu in the jail, he refused to meet incumbent state Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring a few months ago during his visit.
Earlier, Sidhu’s release was expected on this Republic Day under the Centre’s Amrit Mahotsav Scheme as by then he had completed his 66 per cent sentence with good conduct. Now, Sidhu is likely to be released on April 1 (Saturday) if he gets a 45-day remission. His scheduled release from the jail is on May 16. According to jail officials, Sidhu may get an early release on April 1 because of his good conduct.
Sidhu’s Wife Tweets Emotional Message
Battling with cancer, Sidhu’s wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu on Friday posted an emotional message a day before her husband’s likely release from Patiala jail.
Dr Navjot, taking to Twitter, said that the Congress leader’s love for Punjab had driven him beyond the realm of any attachment.
“Affirmations are true: made by a sound mind or out of your senses. Navjot’s love for Punjab had driven him beyond the realm of any attachment. In a fit of anger, to teach him a lesson I asked for death. God’s grace was waiting but with a rider. I will give you what you have asked for but not against the will of Supreme Consciousness. So HE left me in between. Each person’s destiny and journey is different. We have no right to question it. The only person who needs correction is our own self. HIS WORLD: HIS LAWS,” tweeted Dr Navjot — a few days after she had tweeted about the diagnosis of her cancer and operation.
Sidhu’s son Karan Singh Sidhu is also “eagerly waiting” for Congress leader’s return. “I just wish to sit together with him and have meal,” he said, while adding that whenever his father faced setbacks, he emerged stronger