Parole to model Jessica killer Manu Sharma

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today granted five days parole to Manu Sharma, serving life term in Tihar Jail for killing ramp model Jessica Lall in 1999, on the condition that he will not visit night clubs or discotheques during the period.

Allowing Sharma`s plea to attend his younger brother`s marriage, Justice V K Shali granted the temporary relief to him from November 21 to November 25. "The petitioner -Sharma- is allowed to be released on parole for five days but he shall not visit any night club or discotheque," Justice Shali said, directing Sharma to surrender before the Tihar Jail superintendent soon after his parole period expires.

The court confined the parole to Chandigarh, Karnal and Ambala and asked Sharma to furnish the residential addresses of these three places to the jail superintendent. The court further asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of like amount before the jail superintendent. Manu Sharma, the son of an influential Congress leader Venod Sharma, sought parole to attend his brother`s marriage and related functions.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Sharma, had earlier submitted before the court the schedule for marriage ceremonies which include pre-marriage function of `ladies sangeet` on November 21 at Chandigarh, marriage at Karnal on November 22 and reception in Ambala on November 24.

The police had earlier objected to Sharma`s plea, saying his past conduct does not entitle him as he was found indulging in brawl in a discotheque when he was out on parole. It later gave a nod for his parole release, saying he should give an undertaking that he would not leave Karnal, Ambala and Chandigarh, where key marriage ceremonies are slated.

Sharma was found partying in a discotheque in 2009 when he was out on parole to visit his ailing mother in Chandigarh and to attend the last rites of his grandmother.

Jethmalani had sought parole for Sharma, saying that visiting a discotheque when out on parole is not illegal. Jethmalani had argued that for grant of parole, 2010 guidelines on the subject stipulates that the prisoner`s conduct for only past one year is relevant for his temporary release from the jail.

Sharma was awarded life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court in December 2006 for shooting to death Jessica at Tamarind Court Cafe restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in South Delhi during a late night party in 1999.
The life term was upheld by the Supreme Court last year.

In September 2009, he was given a 30-day parole to attend to his ailing mother and perform rituals following the death of his grandmother. But, the basis for the parole was proved unfounded as Sharma`s grandmother had already died in 2008.

During the second extension of the parole for another 30 days, Sharma was seen partying in a discotheque here. His mother, whose illness was also the basis for the parole, was seen at a media briefing promoting a ladies cricket tournament at Piccadilly -the family-run hotel in Chandigarh.