No objection if Manu Sharma is freed, says Jessica Lall’s sister Sabrina Lall
Model Jessica Lall was shot dead by the powerful politician’s son on April 30, 1999, when she refused to serve him a drink well past midnight at a party in Mehrauli.india Updated: Apr 24, 2018 08:45 IST
Jessica Lall’s family wants to “live a normal life” and has no objection if her killer Manu Sharma is released from jail, says the murdered woman’s sister almost 20 years after the crime.
“I have let go of the anger within me. I need to move on and get rid of this baggage. I have no problems if he is released or whatever deal he gets,” said Sabrina Lall, elder sister of Jessica, on Monday. Sharma, son of former union minister Venod Sharma, is serving a life sentence in Tihar jail.
Hindustan Times had on April 22 reported Sharma has been shifted to the open jail, paving his way for release after 15 years in prison.
About three months ago, jail officials shifted Sharma to the open prison, where he is allowed to leave the prison complex at 8 am and return by 6 in the evening.
On April 30, 1999, Sharma had shot Jessica when she refused to serve him a drink well past midnight at a party in Mehrauli. Jessica was a celebrity bartender at that party.
Sabrina said that a month ago, she received a letter from Tihar asking her if she wished to take money from the victims’ welfare fund. The money collected from the earnings of jailed prisoners is meant for victims and their families.
“About a month ago, I received a letter saying that Manu Sharma was up for bail in 2-3 months. They also asked if I wished to take compensation from the victims’ welfare fund. I said I did not need the money and I had no objection to his release,” she said.
Convicts who have served at least 12 years are first transferred to the semi-open jail after which they are eligible for transfer to the open jail. Prisoners in the semi-open and open jail live in rooms instead of cells. While semi-open prisoners are allowed to work and move freely within the jail complex, those in open jail are allowed to go out of the prison and work outside.
According to Sharma’s transfer order, he has to work at his own NGO — Siddhartha Vashishta Trust — and work for children of underprivileged prisoners. Jail officials say open jail prisoners are a step away from being released.
“It is not about him (Sharma) or forgiveness, but more about myself letting go of anger and resentment. I have held on to these emotions since 1999. I personally felt I need to move on and live a normal healthy life. I think I have spent so much time dwelling and thinking about lots of negativity. The one I have lost is not going to come back,” Sabrina said.
A senior jail official said that though Sabrina cannot decide Sharma’s release, but her statements will help his case before the Sentencing Review Board (SRB). The officer said Sharma’s name will be sent to the SRB later this month.
When asked if she was ready to come face to face with Sharma, if he decides to meet her after release, Sabrina said,” I don’t think I have reached that situation yet.”
First Published: Apr 23, 2018 16:29 IST