NEW DELHI: Manu Sharma, the convict in the high-profile Jessica Lal case, who is serving life sentence, has been granted pre-mature release from Tihar Jail here on Monday. Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal has approved the premature release of Manu Sharma, according to an official order. Eighteen other prisoners were also let off.
The Delhi Sentence Review Board (SRB) which comes under the Delhi government had recommended Sharma's premature release last month.
Recommendation was made at a meeting of the SRB chaired by Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain on May 11, a news agency reported.
Sharma, son of former Union minister Vinod Sharma, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court in December 2006 for killing Jessica Lal in 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.
Lal 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.
Manu Sharma, who spent less than 17 years in prison, had been out on parole as a measure to prevent overcrowding in jails amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharma had been in an open jail on account of "good conduct" in the past two years. He was allowed to leave the prison for work at 8 am and return at 6 pm, a channel reported.
Also known as Siddhartha Vashishtha, he worked with a non-profit for the rehabilitation of prisoners.
In 2018, Jessica Lal's younger sister Sabrina Lal said she had forgiven him and would not object if he were freed.
"I truly believe he has been doing good work in jail...it's a load off my chest and I feel at peace with myself," Sabrina Lal had told to a leading channel. "His conviction was closure for me," she had said.
The case also inspired a film 'No One Killed Jessica' starring Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherjee.