Sabrina Lal on Monday said she had forgiven her sister Jessica Lal’s killer Manu Sharma and wouldn’t object to his release from Tihar jail, where he has been serving his life term since 2006. In a letter to the welfare office of Tihar jail, Sabrina mentioned that she had no objection to the release of Siddharth Vashishta alias Manu Sharma as he had spent 15 years in prison. “In this period, he has been doing good work for charity and helping inmates in jail, which I feel is a reflection of reform,” she reportedly stated in the letter.
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Sabrina’s response to Tihar jail came after the jail officer sent her a letter regarding financial assistance from the victim welfare fund. Lal declined the compensation, saying, “I do not require it and request you to give the same to others, who are more in need”.
Sharma, the son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, was handed life imprisonment for shooting model Jessica Lal in 1999 at Tamarind Court restaurant in South Delhi’s Mehrauli for refusing him a drink, an incident that grabbed nationwide attention. He was convicted by the Delhi High Court in 2006 and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentencing was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2010. For the past six months, Sharma has been moved to an “open jail” considering his good conduct. The 41-year-old is allowed to leave the prison every day for work and return in the evening.
Speaking to ANI, Lal said she had been fighting the case since 1999 and with time one needed to let go of resentment and baggage. “I’ve been fighting for this since 1999. He has spent 15 years in jail. You need to let go of anger, of baggage,” Sabrina said.
During his jail period, Sharma has been associated with an NGO that provides rehabilitation to prisoners and their children. He helps inmates’ children to get education by providing fees, uniforms, books and stationery, media reports quoted Tihar jail officials as saying. However, legal experts opined that forgiveness or no objection by the victims’ family members is not a factor for commutation of a sentence and Sharma would have to approach a review board.