Jessica Lal's sister Sabrina Lal has "forgiven" Manu Sharma, who had murdered her sister in 1999 at a south Delhi restaurant, and said that she has "no objection to his release". Sabrina Lal has reportedly written a letter to the welfare officer at Delhi's Tihar Jail, where Manu Sharma has spent 12 years.
The Delhi High Court had found Sharma guilty in the case in 2006, and sentenced him to life in prison. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2010. Sharma had opened fire at Jessica on April 30, 1999, when she refused to serve him a drink at a restaurant in south Delhi. He is the son of former union minister Vinod Sharma. While a trial court had acquitted Sharma, the Delhi High Court sentenced him in 2006.
"I am told that in this period he has been doing good work for charity and helping inmates in jail which I feel is a reflection of reform... I would like to state I have no objection to his release, owing to the fact that he has spent 15 years in jail," reports quoted Sabrina's letter as saying.
"I don't want to hold on to any more anger or hurt. I feel he has served his sentence. I don't feel there is any need to hanker about the situation," Sabrina Lal told the Times of India.
Earlier, Sharma was given "parole" so that he could appear for Bachelor of Law first semester examinations. Sharma was given relief from December 10 to December 15, 2015 and December 20, 2015 to January 1, 2016.
Jessica Lal murder case trial:
Jessica had been bartending on April 29, 1999 at a Delhi restaurant, Tamarind Court, for a private party hosted by its owner, designer Bina Ramani. Sharma was held guilty of shooting her when she refused him a drink.
Jessica Lal was a model in New Delhi who was working as a celebrity barmaid at a crowded socialite party when she was shot dead at around 2 am on 30 April 1999. Dozens of witnesses pointed to Siddharth Vashisht, also known as Manu Sharma, the son of Venod Sharma, a wealthy and influential politician from Haryana, as the murderer. In the ensuing trial, Manu Sharma and a number of others were acquitted on 21 February 2006.
Following intense media and public pressure, the prosecution appealed and the Delhi High Court conducted proceedings on a fast track with daily hearings conducted over 25 days. The trial court judgment was overturned, and Manu Sharma was found guilty of having murdered Lal. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on 20 December 2006.