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'I wish I could have coffee with Jessica'

Sister Sabrina remembers vividly the last time she shared coffee with model-sister Jessica, just a day before she was killed.

delhi Updated: Apr 29, 2007 15:04 IST

She remembers vividly the last time she shared coffee with sister Jessica, just a day before she was killed, and Sabrina Lal says she would love to re-live that moment when she goes to pray at her grave on Monday, the day Jessical Lal was brutally shot dead eight years ago.

Fighting back the tears as she recounts their last meeting, Sabrina told IANS: "I still remember, when Jessica came to my office in Safdarjung Enclave (south Delhi) on April 29, 1999. We had enjoyed coffee together. I wish I could go back to that moment and once again have coffee with my sister."

"That was the last time I saw her pleasant face, the rest is memory. They killed my sister, the comedian of our family, who had given us many lively and cheerful moments."

Jessica was shot dead on the night of April 29-30, 1999, at Tamarind Court, a south Delhi restaurant owned by businesswoman Bina Ramani, where she was working as bartender, by Manu Sharma, the son of a wealthy and powerful politician, after she declined to serve him alcohol late in the night.

Speaking of her sister, Sabrina said: "She was my best friend. We used to go out together, play, share clothes and used to have food together. We even had common friends."

"Justice might have been done but nothing can repair the loss of a family member. I wish to have a coffee from her hand on Monday," she said, adding that Jessica had invited her to Tamarind Court on that fateful night.

After an eight-year-long battle, which saw many ups and downs, the Delhi High Court sentenced Manu Sharma to life imprisonment for the murder of Jessica on Dec 20, 2006. The fight for justice for Jessica saw a crusade by the victim's family, activists, college and school students against the rich and mighty.

The court, delivering one of India's most-awaited judgements, also sentenced two other accomplices and co-accused, Vikas Yadav and Amardeep Singh Gill, to four years each in jail.

Sabrina said Jessica was a good cook and would prepare both Indian and continental dishes. "On holidays, I used to tell her to cook for the entire family."

"She was born on Jan 5, 1965. On her birthday this year I could not hold back my tears. It is impossible to forget her but nothing can happen now. She is part of history and I can only cry," she said.

"On her death anniversary, we will go to her cemetery and pray to the almighty to give her ignorant soul peace forever," she said emotionally.

Speaking about some witnesses who turned hostile, Sabrina said model-turned-actor Shyan Munshi deserved to be punished.

"He was a big liar and now is caught between his lies. The court has taken due note of hostile witnesses in my sister's case and I am sure they will be punished. Due to such backtracking by witnesses many families in India have failed to receive justice. This trend needs to change," she said emphatically.

The Delhi High Court had summoned Munshi along with Andaleeb Sehgal, facing probe in the Iraq oil-for-food scam, Shiv Dass Yadav, an electrician at Tamarind Court Cafe, ballistic expert Prem Sagar Minocha and Shakar Mukhia, an employee at Manu Sharma's farmhouse in Haryana, for turning hostile and not cooperating with the judicial process.

First Published: Apr 29, 2007 14:10 IST