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Jessica Lal killer Manu Sharma walks out of Tihar Jail after LG approves early release

Manu Sharma’s release was cleared because ‘of his good conduct during his stay in Tihar and his contribution in helping rehabilitate families of underprivileged prisoners’.

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New Delhi: Jessica Lal murder convict Manu Sharma walked out of Tihar Jail Monday after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal accepted the observations of the Sentence Review Board recommending his release.

Sharma, who spent 16 years and 11 months in jail, was one of 19 people released, a source in the Tihar Jail told ThePrint. His real name is Siddhartha Vashishta.

According to the source, Sharma’s release was cleared because of “his good conduct” in jail and his “contribution in helping rehabilitate families of underprivileged prisoners”.

Sharma’s Siddhartha Vashishta Charitable Trust has funded the education of more than 500 children of prisoners, and he also gave “lucrative business ideas” to promote the TJ’s (Tihar Jail’s) brand, helping the turnover rise from Rs 3 crore to Rs 20 crore annually, the source added, noting the factors considered by the board.

Son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, Manu Sharma was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court in December 2006 for Lal’s high-profile murder in 1999. Lal, a model, was killed in cold blood on 30 April 1999 when she refused to serve liquor to Sharma and his friends after hours at an upscale Delhi restaurant.

The board, which is chaired by the Delhi home minister, also includes the director general (prisons), principal secretary (home), principal secretary (law), joint commissioner of police (crime), the government’s chief probation officer, and a district judge.

For the Sentence Review Board to consider a premature release, a jail inmate has to fulfil three broad criteria. One is that they must show “good conduct”. Second, they should have a police report recommending their release, and third, a social investigation report, which talks about their chances of rehabilitation.

“Sharma filled all three criteria and hence it was cleared this time,” the aforementioned source said.


Also Read: Reasons govt panel is giving for early release of Jessica Lal killer Manu Sharma


Crime committed on the spur of the moment’

According to Sharma’s lawyer Amit Sahni, the board also noted the fact that the murder was committed on the spur of the moment and was not premeditated.

“It was noted that he is not a habitual offender and that his propensity of committing crime is nil. Also, he has been a useful member of society,” Sahni said.

Sharma’s early release has come up before the board multiple times since 2017, but was rejected by a few members who said he has been given a life sentence for a “heinous crime” that cannot be overlooked, and that he violated parole rules in November 2019, sources in the Delhi government had said last month.

This time, however, neither police nor the social welfare department opposed Sharma’s release.

“After taking into account all the facts and circumstances of the case, that is, the convict has no previous criminal history, satisfactory jail conduct, no violation during parole, furlough, lodgement in open jail, the board unanimously recommends premature release of convict Siddhartha Vashishtha,” the board had noted in its report to the lieutenant governor, which was seen by ThePrint.

Sahni pointed out that, in 2018, Lal’s sister Sabrina had “written to Tihar Jail authorities stating that she had no objections to Sharma’s release”. “Hence, there was no opposition,” Sahni said.


Also Read: Victim impact statements can achieve what death penalty can’t


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Who says crime and murder does not pay, and MANU SHARMA has proved it wrong. He walked out free and on many earlier occasions he was on parole. This justice India style. Have clout you can get away with plain murder. Apparently connections that too in the political level paid. Being Indian it proves law is fair to killers and unkind to those killed. No compensation to victim. The killer and his family are worth thousands of crores and now Manu can become Supari killer

  2. Manu Sharma , I hope, leads a normal life . Sixteen years is a long time to spend in prison , best of luck for his future life .

  3. Doesn’t look like this son of the Satan was “punished” inside jail. Looks like he was having a good time with tax payers money.

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