Nearly two decades after the death of model Jessica Lall, her sister Sabrina Lall said that she has forgiven Siddhartha Vashishta, also known as Manu Sharma, who was convicted for Jessica's murder and has no objection to his release from Tihar Jail, according to media reports.
In a letter to the welfare office of Central Jail, Tihar, Sabrina confirmed that she has no objection to Sharma's release as he has spent 15 years in prison, according to a report in The Hindu. The report quoted Sabrina as saying in the letter, “I am also told that in this period he has been doing good work for charity and helping inmates in jail, which I feel is a reflection of reform.”
According to The Times of India, Sabrina's letter was "in response" to the jail officer’s letter to her regarding "compensation and release of Sidhartha Vahishta s/o Venod Sharma convicted in FIR no 287/1999 under section 302 IPC".
Sabrina also expressed her desire to move on from the incident. The Times of India quoted her as saying, “He has served his sentences and I am done with it… In my own mind, I have forgiven him."
“It will be like a catharsis to forgive and move on. I also need to get on with my life," she asserted, adding, “I don’t want to hold on to any more anger or hurt. I feel that he has served his sentence. I don’t feel there is any need to hanker about the situation.”
Sharma, son of former Congress leader and former minister Venod Sharma, was found guilty of the April 1999 murder of the model. Angered by Jessica's refusal to serve him a drink at a private party well past midnight, Sharma had shot the model.
He was convicted of the murder in December 2006 and has spent at least 15 years in prison since the day he was arrested for the crime by the Delhi Police.
Sabrina also mentioned in her letter that she did not require financial assistance from the victim welfare fund and requested that the money to be given to those who were "more in need".
Sabrina asserted that she did not wish to hold a grudge or anger against Sharma. The Hindu quoted Sabrina as saying, “I have never met him or any of his family members. I was very upset and hurt, and for many years we [she and her parents] were quite angry. But I think he has served enough for the crime he had committed. My parents passed away years ago. I do not want to hold a grudge and anger against him anymore. I have no objection if he comes out.”
Sharma may seek an early release from prison citing “remission" worth five years, for “excellent work, discipline, and conduct".
Legal experts, however, suggest that forgiveness or no objection by the victims’ family is not a factor to be taken into account in commutation of a sentence and the matter could be decided only by the state government.
Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 11:52:27 IST