Sent to prison for murdering Jessica Lal, Manu Sharma could soon be set free and the victim’s sister says she has already forgiven him
Almost 20 years after model Jessica Lal was gunned down at a restaurant in New Delhi, her sister Sabrina Lal, who fought a lengthy legal battle for justice, has said that she has moved on and has no objection to the convict, Siddharth Vashishtha (better known as Manu Sharma) being released from jail. Vashishtha is serving a life term in Delhi’s Tihar Jail for the 1999 murder. Manu Sharma has been shifted to open prison, where he is allowed to leave at 8 am and return by 6 pm every day. This has also paved the way for his final release after 15 years in prison. Manu Sharma’s name would be sent to the Sentence Review Board later this month.
Lal said she had received a letter from the jail authorities regarding a victim compensation fund and Sharma’s release last month, adding that she had replied to the letter and said she had “no objection to his release”.
“I replied to that letter and said I had no objection to his release. It’s not so much about forgiveness but it’s about letting go of a burden, something from which I have moved on. For me, it’s about taking a load off me,” she told news agency PTI.
Here are the top 10 updates around Jessica Lal murder convict Manu Sharma’s release:
1) Jessica Lal’s sister says she has no objection to Manu Sharma’s release after 15 years in jail: In her reply to the letter sent by jail authorities, Lal pointed out that Sharma had been helping inmates during the 15 years he had spent in prison. “I would like to state that I have no objection to his release, owing to the fact that he has spent 15 years in jail,” she wrote.
2) Sabrina Lal says Manu Sharma showing signs of reform: Lal pointed out that he had also worked for charity. “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,” her letter said.
3) ‘Forgave Jessica Lal’s murderer as Christianity teaches’: Sabrina, according to reports, is forgiving Manu Sharma as she “believes in the Christian philosophy of forgiveness, just like her mother”.
4) L-G to decide Manu Sharma’s fate, not Jessica’s sister, says Tihar official: A month after murdered model Jessica Lal’s sister Sabrina Lal wrote to Tihar jail authorities that she had “forgiven” Manu Sharma, officials said the convict’s fate would be decided by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal after the jail’s Sentence Review Board (SRB) submits a report. Sabrina Lal had written to Prison Welfare Officer that her family wanted to lead a normal life and had no objection if Manu Sharma, sentenced to undergo life imprisonment for murder, is released from the Tihar Central Jail.
A jail officer said only the L-G can decide Manu Sharma’s release, not Jessica’s sister. “It is up to the SRB meeting of seven to eight high-rank officials, chaired by Minister Satyendar Jain. The SRB will examine the case of 40-50 prisoners along with Manu Sharma, their police report and social welfare reports to take a final decision. Even if the SRB approves a prisoner’s release, a report is sent to the Lieutenant Governor for a final decision. The L-G reserves the right to turn down even the SRB report,” the official said.