The Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has allowed the early release of convict Siddharth Vashishta @ Manu Sharma on the recommendation of Sentence Review Board (SRB).
Manu Sharma, who was serving a life sentence in the Jessica Lal murder case, was released from Tihar Jail on Monday. He is the son of former Union Minister Vinod Sharma, who killed model Jessica Lal on 30 April 1999 after refusing to serve drinks at a party. After this, Manu Sharma was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The appeal to release Manu Sharma from jail was made five times before the committee, but was rejected. Before the new appeal came, the Tihar Jail Administration, Delhi Police and Jessica Lal’s family members were also told that there was no objection in releasing Manu Sharma from jail.
In November 2019, Sharma’s lawyer Amit Sahni had approached the Delhi High Court seeking his release. In his plea, he said that despite spending 23 years in jail and a record of good conduct in prison, the SRB denied his client’s release on four separate occasions in an “unfair and unlawful manner.”
Any convict – barring one found guilty of heinous crimes such as rape and murder, murder and robbery, murder in cases of terrorism and murder while out on parole – who has completed 14 years in prison without remission is eligible for early release.
The Delhi High Court asked the board to consider Sharma’s case for release in its next board meeting, which took place on May 11. The board consisted of the state home minister, who is its chairman, and the prison’s director-general, state home secretary, state law secretary, a district judge, the government’s chief probationary officer and a joint commissioner-rank officer of the Delhi Police.
-India Legal Bureau