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Jessica not killed for refusal to serve liquor: Manu

Jessica Lall's killer has claimed in the Supreme Court that the ramp model was not shot dead for refusal to serve liquor but for some other reason.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 16, 2008 09:21 PM IST

Jessica Lall's killer Manu Sharma on Wednesday claimed in the Supreme Court that the ramp model was not shot dead for refusal to serve liquor but for "some other reason."

The contention was made by Sharma's lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, during arguments on his bail plea. The court reserved its order after hearing the arguments.

Jethmalani told the apex court that Jessica was not shot dead for refusal to supply liquor, but was killed for "some other reason."

"She (Jessica) was shot dead because she promised someone something, but did not give to that someone, what she had promised," the senior advocate told the apex court, adding that no one would kill a person for denial of a liquor.

In a country like India, he claimed that liquor was freely available hence a person cannot be expected to shoot down another person merely because the latter had refused to serve booze.

He had taken a similar stand in Delhi High Court which convicted Manu for the murder in 2006.

An apex court bench of Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain reserved its order after hearing Jethmalani and Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam who opposed his bail plea.

Earlier, Manu's lawyer claimed that the entire prosecution theory revolved around the allegation that Manu Sharma shot dead Jessica after she refused to serve him liquor beyond the bar's timings.

Jethmalani had earlier raised similar questions in the High Court during the appeal proceedings and hinted that the motive behind the murder was something else.

Manu Sharma, son of senior Congress leader Venod Sharma, was held guilty by the Delhi High Court for killing Jessica Lall at a South Delhi restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani on the intervening night of April 29-30, 1999.

Vikas Yadav, son of controversial Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav was also convicted by the High Court in the Jessica case and sentenced to four years imprisonment for destroying evidence.

The High Court convicted the accused after reversing the acquittal order passed by the trial court, against which he has moved an appeal and the plea for release on bail.

Jethmalani submitted that the High Court had erroneously reversed the acquittal without appreciating the findings of the trial court which had held that the prosecution failed to establish any evidence against the accused.

He claimed that since Sharma has been in jail for the past five years and there being little evidence of his role in the crime, the accused was entitled to bail.

However, additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam appearing for the Delhi Government maintained that there was clear cut evidence to link Sharma to the crime and hence he should not be released on bail. He also opposed suspension of his sentence.

The ASG submitted that "there is no miscarriage of justice" against the accused which would entitle him to bail or suspension of sentence.

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