No question of Sidhu resigning over road rage case: Amarinder Singh

Union minister for housing and urban affairs HS Puri with state BJP president Shwait Malik in Amritsar on Thursday

Union minister for housing and urban affairs HS Puri with state BJP president Shwait Malik in Amritsar on Thursday

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday appealed to people to maintain peace and harmony in the wake of a clash between two communities in Phagwara, while warning of stringent action against anyone found disturbing law and order in the state. Gurnam Singh, a Patiala resident, had died after he was given fist blow by Sidhu. "There was neither any impediment in Sidhu's induction into the cabinet nor in his continuation now, in view of the stay on his conviction", said the Chief Minister.

However, the Chief Minister once again expressed the hope "that the judge would take cognizance of Sidhu's contribution to the society and the country in deciding the case". "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".

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Reacting to reports suggesting that the government had deliberately not supported the minister in the apex court, the Chief Minister pointed out unless the prosecution received new inputs, it was not legally possible for it to add a new element to its arguments.

Contending that Punjab government's move to appoint MLAs as legislative assistants would amount to circumventing the Punjab and Haryana high court verdict, passed while setting setting aside the appointment of chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSs), a legal notice has been sent to the state to not go ahead with the move.

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"Taking a U-turn from the stand taken by the government in the trial and high courts was not an option for the government", he added.

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

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