At the centre of a controversy over her decision to recommend parole to Manu Sharma now serving life imprisonment in the Jessica Lall murder case, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday said she acted within the “legal purview” and on the basis of reports by the Delhi Police and the Delhi Prisons which stated that “this person can avail of parole because his behaviour has been good.”
Responding to queries about her intervention in the matter, she maintained that “everything was done according to rules.” She said the decision was taken under the “provisions of law” by a committee that included the Jail Superintendent, the Home Secretary of the Delhi Government, the Delhi Police and the Lieutenant-Governor.
“It is the right of a prisoner to apply for parole,” Ms. Dikshit said, adding that “the committee recommends parole after reviewing a person’s complete case. Whatever has been done is within the legal purview. It [recommending parole] has been done after taking suggestions from everybody [concerned agencies.]”
Ms. Dikshit, who has been criticised by the Opposition parties for favouring Manu Sharma as he is the son of senior Haryana Congress leader Venod Sharma, said the issue should not be blown out of proportion. Ms. Dikshit said the request for a two-month parole for Manu Sharma, who was sentenced to life for killing model Jessica Lall at a night club in 1999, had been forwarded to the Lieutenant-Governor for his approval after the police and jail authorities made their recommendations.
While the two-month term comes to an end on November 22, the issue has come in the limelight because one of the reasons cited for the parole was “mother’s illness.”
However, as Manu Sharma’s mother Shakti Rani addressed a press conference at a family hotel in Chandigarh over the weekend, the reasons cited for the parole were brought into question by the media.