According to officials of Delhi's Tihar jail, where he had been lodged, Manu Sharma was released on Monday.

Jessica Lal murder convict Manu Sharma set free as Delhi LG allows premature releaseFile image
news Jessica Lal murder Tuesday, June 02, 2020 - 17:21

Manu Sharma, convicted of Jessica Lal’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, is now a free man, after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal approved his premature release, an official order said. 

Manu Sharma, alias Siddhartha Vashishta, spent over 16 years in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, and according to reports quoting jail officials, Sharma was released on Monday. 

The Delhi Sentence Review Board (SRB) which comes under the Delhi government had recommended Sharma's premature release last month. The sources said the recommendation was made at a meeting of the SRB chaired by Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain on May 11.

Sharma, son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court in December 2006 for killing Jessica Lal in 1999. Jessica was shot dead by Sharma after she had refused to serve him liquor at the Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi's Mehrauli area on the night of April 30, 1999. 

A trial court had acquitted him, but the high court reversed the order and the Supreme Court later upheld his life sentence in April 2010.

In the petition to the SRB, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, Manu Sharma had sought release saying the authorities rejected his plea in an “unfair, arbitrary and whimsical” manner. It also claimed Sharma was being victimised by the state and despite having undergone 23 years (with remission) in jail. His case has been rejected four times. He also claimed to have received appreciations for his works through the Siddhartha Vashishtha Charitable Trust, his NGO.

"The petitioner (Sharma) has had an unblemished record throughout incarceration and there has been nothing adverse against him. His reformative actions and efforts for helping inmates' children have been appreciated by the Delhi Lt. Governor as well as the Division Bench of the Delhi HC," it said.

Even Jessica’s sister Sabrina had written letters to the Delhi government that she had forgiven her sister’s killer. 

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