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No one killed Jessica Lal

Supreme Court upholds life sentence to Manu Sharma

The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Monday in the Jessica Lal murder case in which the prime accused Manu Sharma has been convicted and awarded life sentence by the Delhi High Court.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Swantanter Kumar had reserved its verdict on February 8. The High Court had reversed the order of acquittal recorded by the trial court and awarded life imprisonment. Manu Sharma had challenged the conviction.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Sharma, had argued that the judgment was pre-determined to hold the appellant guilty as one of the judges refused to withdraw from the Bench. Narrating the sequence of events, Mr. Jethmalani alleged that from everyday hearing it was clear that the Bench was going to reverse the acquittal by the trial court. 

He described as a farce an identification parade, as Sharma's photograph was already published in all newspapers. The High Court judgment was ‘nothing but perverse' and every finding of the trial court was rejected, he said.

Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the Delhi government, had justified the conviction and had submitted that there was sufficient evidence against Sharma for his involvement in the crime..

The prosecution had said model and socialite Jessica Lal was shot dead by Sharma at the Tamarind Court Cafe restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonade in South Delhi on April 29, 1999.

The trial court verdict acquitting Sharma on February 21, 2006, was set aside by the High Court on December 18, 2006. 

The High Court had held guilty two other accused in the case — Vikas Yadav and Amarjeet Singh Gill — for destruction of evidence. They have also challenged their conviction and four-year jail sentence. 

Manu Sharma is the son of senior Haryana Congress leader Vinod Sharma while Yadav is the son of Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav

What seems to have raised a hue and cry is a list of questions, which the judgement looks to have given a go-by and the circumstantial evidence, which was glossed over. 

Even after the judgement, there is still no idea where the weapon, a .22 bore pistol (no.B-56943-U) is, for which Manu holds a licence. In fact, nothing is known about the pistol. No attempt was made to enquire about this crucial evidence even when Manu said he had lost the weapon. According to the judgement, “Pistol couldn’t be recovered from accused Manu Sharma which could have connected him with the commission of the crime.” No attempt it seems was made to corner Shayan Munshi when he refused to stand by his earlier statement to the police, denying he knew Hindi. What has befuddled everyone is that while every newspaper has been publishing stories of shoddy investigations with Paul’s letter, why was no attempt made to call Paul and Kanth, who is questioning the way the entire probe was conducted. Says Ashok Arora, whose plea to the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the oath-taking ceremony of Bhayana as a Delhi High Court judge, was quashed: “In my 29 years of career, I have never seen a judgement which instead of giving the benefit of doubt to the accused says that they have been falsely implicated.”

New Delhi, Feb. 27 -- The Supreme Court today dismissed the plea for stay of elevation of Delhi High Court Additional Sessions Judge Sundar Lal Bhayana Bhayana and refused to interfere on the issue.

On February 24, Additional Sessions Judge Bhayana, who gave the judgment in Jessica Lal murder case acquitting all the nine accused was elevated to the High Court along with four other district judges. The justice department had issued a proclamation promoting Bhayana following the approval by President A P J Abdul Kalam.

Senior Supreme Court advocate Ashok Arora yesterday questioning the elevation of Bhayana to the High Court wrote to the President, requesting the move be stayed 

Jessica case vs Ram Jethmalani

Manu Sharma confesses Jessica's murder

Sting Operation Jessica case by Tehelka and Star TV

No one killed Jessica Lal

HC found Manu Sharma guilty of murdering Jessica Lall


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