Manu Sharma also known as Siddharta Vashishtha, the prime accused in the infamous Jessica Lal murder case, who is currently out on parole as part of measures to reduce overcrowding in jails in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been prematurely releasedafter the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi approved the recommendation of the Delhi Sentence Review Board (SRB)which comes under the Delhi government.
Who is Manu Sharma and why is he in Jail?
Manu Sharma is the son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, serving life imprisonment in Tihar Jail for the murder of Jessica Lal, a bartender in 1999 after she refused to serve him a drink after the closing hours. In the ensuing trial, Manu Sharma and a number of others were acquitted on 21 February 2006. Following intense media and public pressure, the prosecution appealed, and the Delhi High Court conducted proceedings on a fast track with daily hearings conducted over 25 days. The trial court judgment was overturned, and Manu Sharma was found guilty of having murdered Lal. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on 20 December 2007.
Why was this a landmark case?
This case is one of the best examples of how investigative journalism if done right can change the course of a case. After Manu Sharma was acquitted, the verdict was met with nation-wide protests by different sections of society at India Gate who were dissatisfied by the judgment. Media then took the matters in their own hand and the case was reopened because of the sting operation carried out by the media in which it was revealed that the witness was bribed to not reveal the truth in the case by Venod Sharma. Manu was then convicted for the murder of Jessica Lal.
On what basis is he released?
Enterprising business ideas, his trust’s monetary efforts to educate children of prisoners and good conduct during his stay in Tihar Jail are some of the reasons cited by the Sentence Review Board (SRB) while recommending early release of Manu Sharma convicted for the murder of model Jessica Lal.
Reaction of Jessica Lal’s Family?
Last month, Jessica Lal’s sister Sabrina said to the media that she had forgiven Manu as he had served enough time in the jail for his crime.