February 20, 2020 4:14:26 pm
The Delhi High Court asked the AAP government on Thursday to reply to a plea by Jessica Lal murder convict Manu Sharma, serving life imprisonment, seeking premature release.
Justice Brijesh Sethi asked the Delhi government to file a status report in the matter along with the relevant records of Sentence Review Board (SRB).
The court listed the matter for further hearing on March 30.
Sharma has sought direction to set aside the September 19, 2019 order of the competent authority which had accepted the July 19 last year recommendations of SRB rejecting his early release plea.
The petition, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, sought Sharma’s release saying the authorities rejected his plea in an unfair, arbitrary and whimsical manner.
It contended that Sharma was being victimised by the State and despite having undergone 23 years (with remission) in jail, his case was rejected four times. It claimed that he has been rewarded appreciations for his efforts through his NGO “Siddhartha Vashishtha Cheritable Trust”.
“The petitioner (Sharma) has had an unblemished record throughout incarceration and there has been nothing adverse against him. His reformative actions and efforts for helping children of jail inmates has been appreciated by the Lt. Governor of Delhi as well as the Division Bench of High Court of Delhi,” the plea said.
Sharma, son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the high court in December, 2006 for killing Jessica Lal in 1999.
The trial court had acquitted him, but the Delhi High Court had reversed the order and the Supreme Court had upheld his life sentence in April, 2010.
Lal was shot dead by Sharma after she had refused to serve him liquor at Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi’s Mehrauli area on the night of April 30, 1999.
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