Jessica Lall case: SC upholds conviction of Manu Sharma

Jessica Lall

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the conviction and life imprisonment awarded to Manu Sharma, son of senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Venod Sharma, in the 1999 Jessica Lall murder case.

"The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the presence of Manu Sharma at the site of the offence," a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Swatanter Kumar said, upholding the Delhi High Court verdict.

The apex court also upheld the conviction as well as sentence of four years jail term of Vikas Yadav, son of controversial Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav and, Amarjeet Singh Gill, an MNC executive, for the destruction of evidence.

"The Delhi High Court has given cogent and adequate reasons for reversal of acquittal given by the trial court," the bench said.

"The presence of accused is proved by ocular evidence of prosecution witnesses," the Bench said while pronouncing the verdict.

The bench said that the conduct of Manu Sharma after the crime proved his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

"The prosecution has established the evidence by recovering the Tata Safari car used by Manu Sharma on the day of offence from Noida.

"An inference can be drawn about his guilt because accused did not lodge any FIR for the theft of his vehicle," the bench said in its over 250-page judgement.

The apex court said that the high court had rightly convicted and given four years jail sentences to Yadav and Gill for destruction of evidence.

The court also expunged the adverse remarks of the trial court against the prosecution and also the observations of the high court against the trial court order acquitting all the accused.

"The non-recovery and non-explanation of the pistol allegedly used in the crime point towards the guilt of the accused," the bench said.

Though the apex court criticised the media – both electronic and print - for its reports in connection with the case while it was pending before the high court, the Supreme Court judges said it did not cause any prejudice to the accused.

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