Apex court reserves verdict on Jessica killer’s bail plea

April 16th, 2008 - 11:45 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday reserved its verdict on the bail plea of Manu Sharma, convicted and sentenced to life in jail for killing ramp model Jessica Lall. A bench of Justice C.K. Thakkar and Justice D.K. Jain reserved its verdict after hearing arguments by Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian opposing the bail and senior counsel Ram Jethmalani demanding it for Sharma.

Lall was shot dead at a south Delhi restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani on the intervening night of April 29-30, 1999. Sharma, son of former Haryana minister Venod Sharma, had opened fire at her for refusing to serve him a drink.

While arguing for bail to Sharma, Jethmalani went to the extent of casting aspersions on the character of the slain model.

“Whisky was not the motive (behind the killing). It was something else. The lady had promised something else but did not keep her word,” he said.

“Had whisky been the motive, the victim could have been some other bartender instead of her,” he added.

During his argument, Jethmalani questioned various pieces of evidence on the basis of which the Delhi High Court had convicted Sharma.

He contended that Sharma was eligible for bail as there was considerable delay in hearing his appeal filed against his conviction.

The senior advocate said the court only has to consider whether on grant of bail the accused will abscond. This, he said, was not likely, as he never violated the bail condition during the trial.

Jethmalani said the possibility that Sharma would be acquitted could not be ruled out as the trial court had absolved him of the crime but the high court reversed the decision.

Jethmalani contended that the high court verdict was perverse and in his view the “judgement of conviction is not entitled to be qualified as judgement”.

He alleged the case was foisted on Sharma and evidence was fabricated. This was proved by the fact that the forensic report confirmed that bullets were fired from two weapons, he said.

Opposing the bail plea, Subramanian supported the high court verdict, saying there was “no miscarriage of justice” and Sharma did not deserve bail.

The apex court had denied bail to Sharma last November.

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