Jessica Lal’s murderer Manu Sharma walks out of Tihar jail
Siddharth Vashishta, 43, better known by his alias Manu Sharma, shot dead model Jessica Lal, who was tending an unlicensed bar at a private party on April 30, 1999, after she refused to serve him a drink well past midnight.Updated: Jun 02, 2020 19:51 IST
Manu Sharma, who was serving a life term after being convicted of the murder of model Jessica Lal in 1999, was released from Tihar jail on Monday evening after lieutenant governor (LG) Anil Baijal accepted the recommendations of the Sentence Review Board (SRB).
“The lieutenant governor had accepted the recommendations of the SRB meeting held on May 11,” Sharma’s lawyer Amit Sahni said.
Any convict -- barring one found guilty of heinous crimes such as rape and murder, murder and robbery, murder in cases of terrorism and murder while out on parole -- who has completed 14 years in prison without remission is eligible for early release.
Watch | Manu Sharma, who killed Jessica Lal in 1999, released from Delhi’s Tihar jail
The prison’s director general Sandeep Goel confirmed Sharma was released on Monday.
Siddharth Vashishta, 43, better known by his alias Manu Sharma, shot dead model Jessica Lal, who was tending an unlicensed bar at a private party on April 30, 1999, after she refused to serve him a drink well past midnight. He is the son of Haryana politician Venod Sharma.
In November 2019, Sahni approached the Delhi high court seeking Sharma’s release. In his plea, he said that despite spending 23 years in jail (with remission added), and a record of good conduct in prison, the SRB denied his client’s release on four separate occasions in an “unfair and unlawful manner.”
Remission is when a prisoner displays good conduct in prison, and his/her sentence is reduced. While Sharma has served around 16 years of actual sentencing, he has completed 23 years with remission.
The Delhi high court had then asked the board to consider Sharma’s case for release in its next meeting, which took place on May 11. The board consists of the state home minister, who is its chairman, and the prison’s director-general, state home secretary, state law secretary, a district judge, the government’s chief probationary officer and a joint commissioner-rank officer of the Delhi Police.
Last month Lal’s sister Sabrina had said that she had forgiven Sharma and that he had served his time for the crime. Sabrina had also said that it was time for her to move on. “ My fight was always for justice. We got justice. If he is released. I have no problem.”
Sharma’s acquittal by a city court in February 2006 triggered protests across the country, after which the Delhi high court took up the case. The high court reversed the order, saying the lower court ignored or misread material evidence. Sharma was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2006. The Supreme Court upheld the order in 2010.