An apex bench, comprising Justices CK Thakker and DK Jain, had reserved its verdict after arguments on the bail application of Manu were concluded.
Senior Counsel Ram Jethmalani pleading for suspension of Manu's sentence has contended that the High Court had reversed the order of acquittal passed by the trial court under media pressure. Model Jessica Lal was shot at point blank range on the night of April 29, 1999 while she was working as a barmaid at the Tamarind Court Bar owned by socialite Bina Ramani.
It was alleged that Jessica was murdered by Manu Sharma, alias Siddharth Vashist, son of Congress politician and former Union Minister Vinod Sharma, after she refused him a drink since the bar had closed for the day. In its primary investigation, the Delhi Police also indicted Vikas Yadav, the son of Uttar Pradesh's heavy weight politician DP Yadav, along with ten others.
The sensational murder case had a high profile list of accused which included names like Amardeep Singh Gill, Coca-Cola company officials Alok Khanna, Shyam Sunder Sharma, Amit Jhingan, Yograj Singh, Harvinder Chopra, Vikas Gill, Raja Chopra, Ravinder Krishan Sudan and Dhanraj. They had been charged under sections 120(B), 302, 201 and 212 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
But, an Additional Session Judge acquitted Manu Sharma on the murder charges and Vikas Yadav, Amardeep Singh Gill, Alok Khanna and Shyam Sunder Sharma on the charges of destroying evidences.
The verdict had come after a long hiatus of six years in which the case saw numerous twists and turns with a large number of witnesses turning hostile. Deepak Bhojwani, socialite Bina Ramani, her husband George Mailhot, and her daughter Malini had testified that they had seen prime accused Manu Sharma with three other co-accused at the party.