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Jessica Lall Killer Manu Sharma's Release on Hold as Sentence Review Board Raises Questions

The SRB is a statutory body with Delhi Home Minister, Law Secretary and Home Secretary among its seven to eight members. The members review the jail and police reports and the social welfare reports of 40-50 prisoners to take a final decision on the proposals for their release. Their report is forwarded to Delhi Lieutenant Governor for a final decision.

IANS

Updated:April 25, 2018, 10:53 AM IST
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Jessica Lall Killer Manu Sharma's Release on Hold as Sentence Review Board Raises Questions
File Photo of Jessica Lall
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New Delhi: A meeting of the Sentence Review Board (SRB) of the Tihar Central Jail was postponed on Tuesday in the absence of permission from Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, who was to chair it to decide on a proposal to release Jessica Lall murder convict Manu Sharma.

"The SRB meeting scheduled for Tuesday was postponed. The date for the next SRB meeting will be decided by the Home Department in consultation with Minister Satyendar Jain. When SRB meetings are postponed due to some reasons, these are generally held in the next 15 days. May 9 may be the next date on which Manu Sharma's case could be decided," a jail official, requesting anonymity, told IANS.

The SRB is a statutory body with Delhi Home Minister, Law Secretary and Home Secretary among its seven to eight members.

The members review the jail and police reports and the social welfare reports of 40-50 prisoners to take a final decision on the proposals for their release. Their report is forwarded to Delhi Lieutenant Governor for a final decision.

A jail official, requesting anonymity, told IANS: "As per Manu Sharma's transfer order, he has to work at his family NGO Siddhartha Vashishta Trust and work for thousands of children of underprivileged prisoners to provide the books, free education, and financial aid. The open jail inmates are only a step away from release from incarceration."

However, the officer said, Jessica's sister cannot decide Manu Sharma's release but the L-G.

"It is up to the SRB meeting of seven to eight high-rank officials, chaired by Minister Satyendar Jain. The SRB will examine the case of 40-50 prisoners along with Manu Sharma, their police reports and social welfare reports to take a final decision.

"Even if the SRB approves a prisoner's release, a report is sent to the Lieutenant Governor for the final decision. The L-G reserves the right to turn down even the SRB report," the official said.

Tihar authorities also said that the Delhi government rules permit a murder convict undergoing a life sentence to approach a review board to seek 'premature release'.

"But such application can be made only after undergoing actual imprisonment for a minimum of 14 years without remission, or 20 years with remission, depending on the case. The review board, however, has to consider the circumstances in which the crime was committed and a possibility of the convict reclaiming his life as a useful member of society," an official said.

The officer said that Manu Sharma's name would be sent to the SRB later this month.

Last month, Sabrina Lall, elder sister of Jessica Lall, had written to the prison Welfare Officer that her family wants to lead a normal life and has no objection if Manu Sharma is released from the Tihar jail.

Manu Sharma, son of former Union Minister Venod Sharma, was sentenced to life for killing Jessica Lall in 1999. The trial court had acquitted him, but the High Court reversed the verdict and convicted him whereas the Supreme Court upheld the life sentence in April 2010.

| Edited by: Puja Menon
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