'No Objection' If Her Killer Manu Sharma Walks Free, Says Jessica Lal's Sister

Sabrina Lal has also refused compensation from victim welfare fund

One of the most groundbreaking criminal cases in India’s history has virtually come to an end – with mercy.

Nearly 20 years after her murder, Sabrina Lal, the sister of deceased model Jessica Lal has “no objection” to the release of her sister’s killer Siddhartha Vashishta, popularly known as Manu Sharma. Sharma is serving a life-term after his conviction in the brutal murder of Jessica Lal in 1999.

According to a Times of India report, the decision of the victim’s sister came during a letter to the welfare officer of Tihar jail.

Sabrina Lall | Source: The Indian Express

“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,” the letter read.

‘Want to move ahead’ 

Sabrina Lall, who has been waging a lone battle for justice for her sister, has said she took the decision to “move on” with her life.

“I’ve been fighting for this since 1999. He has spent 15 years in jail. You need to let go of anger, of baggage. I thought it is okay if Manu Sharma walks free. There is no specific reason. You need to rest your mind & move on with your life,” Sabrina Lall told reporters on Monday.

Sabrina has also declined to accept the “financial assistance from the victim welfare fund” and asked the authorities to disburse it among people who are in need, the TOI report added.

It’s not clear how far will the letter impact Sharma’s release from the jail.

Case that shook India 

On the intervening night of April 29-30, 1999, Jessica Lall, a celebrity barmaid in Qutub Colonnade restaurant, was shot dead during a party after she refused a drink to Manu Sharma and his friends. Sharma, son of an influential Congress lawmaker Venod Sharma, tried to evade arrest for days before finally surrendering before police.

Jessica Lall | Source: File Photo

While the trial in the case went on for years, Sharma’s acquittal by a trial court in February 2006 triggered a massive public outcry over the alleged subversion of justice by the muscle of power and politics.  Eventually, Delhi High court in late 2006 reversed  the trial court’s acquittal and sentenced Sharma to life term for the murder of Jessica Lall. The matter finally reached Supreme Court which upheld Sharma’s conviction in 2011.

During his imprisonment, the court authorities had come under severe criticism for allowing multiple paroles to convict Sharma.