JESSICA LAL MURDER CASE
- Jessica Lal (5 January 1965 – 30 April 1999) was a model in New Delhi who was working as a celebrity barmaid at a crowded socialite party when she was shot dead at around 2am on 30 April 1999. Dozens of witnesses pointed to Siddharth Vashisht, also known as Manu Sharma, the son of Venod Sharma, a wealthy and influential Congress-nominated Member of Parliament from Haryana, as the murderer. In the ensuing trial, Manu Sharma and a number of others were acquitted on 21 February 2006.
- Following intense media and public pressure, the prosecution appealed and the Delhi High Court conducted proceedings on a fast track with daily hearings conducted over 25 days. THe was sentenced to life imprisonment on 20 December 2006. On 2 June 2020 Manu Sharma was released from Tihar Jail by Delhi LG on grounds of good behaviour
- Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal approved the premature release of Manu Sharma, who is serving a life sentence in the case, according to an official order.
- The Delhi Sentence Review Board (SRB) which comes under the Delhi government had recommended his release from the Tihar Jail last month. The 43-year-old, who has spent around 17 years in prison, had been out on parole as part of measures taken by prisons across the country to prevent crowding in the coronavirus crisis.
- The 43-year-old, who has spent around 17 years in prison, had been out on parole as part of measures taken by prisons across the country to prevent crowding in the coronavirus crisis.
- In November, his lawyer had approached the Delhi high court and said despite a record of good conduct in prison, the board had rejected his release four times.
- In the past two years, Manu Sharma had been in an open jail on account of “good conduct”; he was allowed to leave the prison for work at 8 am and return at 6pm. Eight years ago, Manu Sharma aka Sidharth Vashishta also started an eponymous non-profit for the rehabilitation of prisoners.
- In 2018, Jessica Lal’s younger sister Sabrina Lal had said she forgave Manu Sharma and would not object if he were freed. “I truly believe he has been doing good work in jail…it’s a load off my chest and I feel at peace with myself,” Sabrina Lal had told NDTV. “His conviction was closure for me,” she had said
- The LG office has “clarified” that the LG had concurred with the recommendations of the Sentence Review Board (SRB) on May 21 as approved by the Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Kumar Jain to release 19 prisoners, including Siddhartha Vashishta, alias Manu Sharma, as covered under the guidelines of the provisions of the CrPC and the prison rules.
- “The facts of the case are that Siddhartha Vashishtha… was undergoing life imprisonment… The convict had undergone imprisonment of 16 years, 11 months and 24 days in actual and 23 years, four months and 22 days with remission,” the LG office said.