SC reserves verdict on Manu Sharma's bail application

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the bail application of Siddharth Vashisht, alias Manu Sharma, who is serving life imprisonment in Jessica Lal murder case.

A bench comprising Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain reserved the verdict after hearing senior counsel Ram Jethmalani who appeared for Manu Sharma, and Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam appearing for the state.

Mr Jethmalani, pleading for suspension of sentence awarded to Manu Sharma, son of former Haryana minister Vinod Sharma, contended that petitioner has been convicted by the Delhi High Court under the pressure of media.

He also contended that the prosecution has suppressed the evidence in the case and said the socialite Bina Ramani was not an eye-witness in the case.

It may be noted here that Jessica Lal, a bartender, was shot dead on April 30, 1999 for not serving liquor to Manu Sharma and his friend, as the the bar had already been closed.

Qutab Colonnade restaurant in Mehrauli was owned and run by Bina Ramani.

Manu Shrma was acquitted by the trial cout and the trial judge S L Bhayana was elevated to High Court within a week of delivering the judgement. The High Court, however, reversed the acquittal order and convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment in December 2006.

Mr Subramaniam, however, told the court that there was sufficient evidence against Manu Sharma as he was present on the spot and has been identified by an eye-witness Shyan Munshi and he did not deserve to be enlarged on bail.

Munshi, however, later turned hostile.

Mr Jethmalani, pleading for suspension of sentence of his client, submitted before the court that ''bail is rule while jail is exception'' and his client must be released on bail at least till final disposal of appeal against his conviction pending before this court.

UNI SC SLD HT1716

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