HC order gives hope to Jessica's family

The court has asked the city police to submit all probe documents pertaining to the murder case.
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Updated on Mar 01, 2006 03:38 PM IST
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None | ByIndo-Asian News Service, New Delhi

A Delhi High Court order asking the city police to submit to it all probe documents on the Jessica Lall murder case has given the deceased model's family some hope.

A trial court acquitted all nine accused for lack of evidence earlier this week in the case.

Lall, who was filling in as a bartender in a posh south Delhi restaurant, was shot in the wee hours of April 30, 1999, after she reportedly refused to serve liquor to Manu Sharma, the son of Haryana Excise Minister Vinod Sharma. After a seven-year trial, a Delhi sessions court acquitted the nine people accused in the case.

"We had given up all hope when the accused were allowed to go scot-free. With the Delhi High Court's order, we now have a glimmer of hope that justice will be served," Sabrina Lal, Jessica's elder sister said.

When the verdict was given on Tuesday, the deceased's family was understandably bitter, saying that they had given up hope in the judicial system and that things had gone against them at every stage from the investigations to the final acquittal.

The decision of the Additional Sessions Judge SL Bhayana to acquit the nine, including prime accused Manu Sharma, for lack of evidence, has been met with public indignation.

"The support from the public has been overwhelming. It is amazing the kind of calls and messages I have been getting from complete strangers expressing their support," Sabrina said, referring to the outcry.

"It feels wonderful to get so much strength from people to keep the battle going despite the odds and powers we are up against."

The decision of the court has precipitated a raging public debate on the effectiveness of the judicial system with the media also joining in.

Mobile phone messages and Internet blogs seeking to drum up public support and opinion on the issue has met with good response. A signature campaign to be sent to President APJ Abdul Kalam has been reported.

Asked whether her family would file for a retrial, Sabrina was non-committal.

"Justice has to be done one way or the other, whether that involves a retrial or not, I don't know. But we, like the rest of society, are anxious that the case should reach its logical end and the guilty should not get away with it," she said.

Reacting to the Delhi High Court order asking for the investigation details, Delhi Police says "we will think of crossing the bridge when we come to it", but is open to the idea of re-investigating the case.

"I have not seen the court order so far. After receiving a copy of the order we would comply with it," Delhi Police Commissioner KK Paul said.

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