Chandigarh, Apr 13 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today defended his government’s stand in the Supreme Court in a 30-year-old road rage case against cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying it was the only legal option available to it.

The state government in the apex court yesterday favoured the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict convicting and awarding a three-year jail term to Sidhu in the 1988 case.

Gurnam Singh, a Patiala resident, had died after he was given fist blow by Sidhu.

“Though the government could not have taken any other stand in the apex court, other than what it had been taken in the trial and high court earlier, Sidhu deserved the court’s consideration,” Singh said, adding “Had we done so, we would have been accused of lying either now or earlier.” Singh, however, hoped the judge would take into account Sidhu’s “contribution to the society and the country” in his final verdict.

According to an official release quoting his interview on YouTube Live, the chief minister dismissed accusations that he did not like Sidhu.

In September 1999, a trial court had acquitted Sidhu of the murder charge. However, the high court reversed the verdict and held him and co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in December, 2006.

The high court sentenced them to three-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on the convicts.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.