Jessica Lall’s Sister Can’t Decide Manu Sharma’s Fate: Officials
Tihar officials said the release of a prisoner is in the hands of the LG.
A month after murdered model Jessica Lall's sister Sabrina Lall wrote to Tihar Jail authorities, saying that she has "forgiven" Jessica’s killer Manu Sharma, officials said the convict's fate will be decided by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal after the jail's Sentence Review Board submits a report.
"The letter of a private individual has no legal sanctity,” a government source told PTI.
Sabrina Lall had written a letter to the prison welfare officer that her family wants to lead a normal life, and they have no objection if Sharma – sentenced to life imprisonment – is released from jail.
On 30 April 1999, Sharma fatally shot Jessica when she refused to serve him drink well past midnight at a party in south Delhi's Mehrauli.
The Delhi High Court (HC) had in December 2006 reversed a trial court’s acquittal and sentenced Sharma to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court, two months later, upheld the HC verdict.
I have eradicated all anger within me and want to move ahead to live a normal life. I have no problem if Manu Sharma is released, or whatever deal he gets.Sabrina Lall in the letter
Release After 15 Years in Prison?
Jail authorities said that about three months ago Sharma was shifted to an open prison which he is allowed to leave at 8 am and return to by 6 pm everyday. They said it can pave way for his final release after 15 years in prison.
Jail officials said that convicts, after serving at least 12 years, are first transferred to a semi-open jail, and thereafter are eligible for transfer to the open jail.
While semi-open jail inmates are allowed to work and move freely within the jail complex, those in open jail are allowed to go out for work. Both categories of inmates live in rooms instead barracks.
‘Open Jail Inmates Step Away From Release’
A jail official, requesting anonymity, told IANS: "As per Manu Sharma's transfer order, he has to work at his family NGO Siddhartha Vashishta Trust and work for thousands of children of underprivileged prisoners to provide them books, free education, and financial aid. The open jail inmates are only a step away from release from incarceration."
Tihar Jail's Sentence Review Board Meeting Postponed
A meeting of Tihar Jail's sentence review board scheduled for Tuesday, 24 April, to decide on Sharma’s release has been postponed. The sentence review board is a statutory body which has a judge, Delhi home minister, law secretary and home secretary among members.
After the board approves a prisoner's release, a report is sent to the Lieutenant Governor for final decision. The LG reserves the right to turn down even the report, an official told IANS.
Tihar authorities said that the Delhi government rules permit a murder convict undergoing a life sentence to approach a review board to seek 'premature release'.
"But such application can be made only after undergoing actual imprisonment for a minimum of 14 years without remission, or 20 years with remission, depending on the case. The review board, however, has to consider the circumstances in which the crime was committed and possibility of the convict reclaiming his life as a useful member of society," the official added.
(With IANS and PTI inputs)
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)
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