In a rather unsettling development, Jessica Lal's murderer Manu Sharma was freed from the Tihar Jail on Tuesday, June 2, after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal approved his premature release late last month. Son of former Union Minister Venod Sharma, Sharma was put behind the bars 14 years ago.
Lal, a model, was shot dead by Sharma after she refused to serve him liquor at the Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in South Delhi's Mehrauli area on the night of April 30, 1999. Sharma was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court in December 2006.
Delhi LG released Sharma on grounds of "good behavior"
The decision by Delhi LG comes after the Sentence Review Board in its meeting on May 11 had recommended the release of Sharma observing his "good conduct" inside the jail. The board also observed that Sharma alias Siddharth Vashishth has "good" prospects of post-release rehabilitation.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) read with the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi Notification dated 20 March 1974, the Lt. Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi is pleased to remit the un-expired portion of the Sentence of the following 19 (Nineteen) life convicts on the recommendations of the Sentence Reviewing Board in its meeting held on 11.05.20," read the order dated May 28.
Baijal had approved remittance of Sharma's sentence along with that of at least 18 other convicts. International Business Times, India has also learned that early release plea of Santosh Kumar Singh, murderer of Priyadarshini Mattoo, was rejected by the board.
Jessica's sister said she has forgiven Sharma
Sabrina Lal, sister of Jessica, had earlier written a letter to the authorities of the Tihar Jail saying that she has forgiven Sharma and will have no objections if he is released.
"I am told that he has been doing good work for charity and helping inmates in jail, which I feel is a reflection of reform. I do not require financial assistance from the victim welfare fund and request you to give the same to others, who are more in need," said Sabrina in her letter.