Senior criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani gave a new twist to the Jessica Lall murder case on Wednesday. Jethmalani, who is appearing for Manu Sharma, told the Delhi High Court that the model was shot dead by a "tall Sikh gentleman", and not by his client.
Jethmalani said Sharma had been framed at the behest of this Sikh gentleman. The lawyer told a division bench of justices RS Sodhi and PK Bhasin, "The Sikh gentleman was too powerful and police were scared to touch him. Innocent Manu turned out to be a soft target."
Jethmalani said he would soon name this person and establish his guilt, but added he was not referring to any of the accused. He claimed that at a news conference a day after the murder, police themselves had said that a man wearing a red turban had killed Jessica. She was shot dead at the Tamarind Court restaurant on April 29, 1999.
Jethmalani said his assertion was corroborated by key witness Deepak Bhojwani who had said that when he met Sharma at the party, a tall Sikh gentleman was with him. Sharma asked Bhojwani, who was holding two glasses of whiskey, how he got the drinks when Sharma could not manage even one, as the bar had closed.
Jethmalani argued: “At this point, this Sikh gentleman... told Manu, ‘I will get the drinks for you.’ Bhojwani heard the gunshots 15-20 minutes after the two went inside the bar. It was this gentleman who shot Jessica.” He claimed that according to police’s site map of Tamarind Court, a man in a turban was standing at the spot from which the shot was fired.