 Manu Sharma, a convict in the famous Jessica Lal murder case was released from Tihar jail.
 Manu shot Jessica dead as she refused to serve him liquor at Tamarind Court restaurant.
 Outrage poured in from activists and the common man commending the decision.

Along with 18 other convicts, Manu Sharma who was accused of the murder of model Jessica Lal’s in 1999. Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor, Delhi Manu signed off on the decision allowing Manu to be released. This decision came after a recommendation by the Delhi Sentence Review Board which comes under the Delhi Government led by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). This board recommended this decision to the LG after a unanimous decision by the board.

This meeting was chaired by Satyender Jain, Home Minister, Delhi Government.

Manu, 43 has been out on parole since the first week of April as preventive measures and maintenance of social distancing norms owing to the impact of Corona Virus.

Previously, in November, Manu’s lawyer had approached the Delhi High Court and stated despite a track of good conduct in the prison, Manu his plea had been rejected by the aforementioned board four times.

Sharma is the son of former Union minister, Venod Sharma. He had shot model Jessica Lal on 30th April 1999 after she refused to serve her liquor in Tamarind Court restaurant which is owned by socialite Bina Ramani.

Initially, a trial court that undertook his case acquitted Manu him of the crime but as an aftermath of nationwide protests and engagement, the High Court took the case and reversed the
previous judgment for life imprisonment in 2006. India’s apex court, the Supreme Court of India confirmed the same in 2010. Notably, Manu had been in open jail for the previous two years as he was allowed to leave for work at 8 am and return to prison at 6 pm. This was on account of his ‘good conduct.’

According to a statement by a leading news channel in 2018, Jessica’s younger sister, Sabrina Lal was quoted saying, “I truly believe he has been doing good work in jail…it’s a load off my chest and I feel at peace with myself, His conviction was closure for me.”

The decision has followed outrage from Manu activists expressing their discord to the order.

Activist-politician Brinda Karat said, “On what basis did the Delhi Sentence Review Board take a decision to recommend a criminal, who is convicted of the murder of a young woman, to be released three years earlier? It sets a very wrong precedent,”

Adding to her statement, she was quoted Manu, “Good behavior is subjective… When somebody is convicted, unless he is proved to be not guilty, but he is proven guilty. He has a 20-year
sentence… he should complete those 20 years and particularly in such a case in which a young girl was so brutally murdered. So it sets a wrong precedent,”

Women rights activist Shamina Shafiq was also reported expressing her discomfort to the decision. She said, “Already the country has been dealing with so much as far as a crime against women is concerned. For ‘Nirbhaya’, it took so many years of turmoil to get justice for the family.

Now, we see one more person walking scot-free and in the name of what? In the pretext of what?”

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