Overriding the suggestion of the State Home Secretary for a 15-day parole to Jessica Lal murder case convict Manu Sharma, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had extended it to one month. Manu Sharma allegedly violated his parole norms during the period last year.
Son of Haryana Congress leader Vinode Sharma, Siddarth Vashisth alias Manu Sharma was given a one-month parole on September 18, 2009 within 22 days of submitting his application, the file notings received under the RTI Act show.
Manu Sharma had approached the Delhi government on August 27, 2009 for a three-month parole citing three major reasons — to take part in the last rites of his grandmother who had died in 2008, his mother’s ailment and to attend neglected business interest.
Delhi Police in its report dated September 10, 2009 said: “His (Manu Sharma’s) personal attention is not required to look after his mother... As on date, the company is still running its business without any hindrance. Grounds taken by the convict are not appealing enough to grant him parole.”
The notings made available under the Right to Information Act to S.C. Agrawal have revealed that Delhi Home Secretary G.L. Meena had forwarded the application within a day of receiving the Delhi Police report.
He placed the Delhi Police report on record but cited positive recommendations of Tihar Jail officials and Chandigarh Police to “consider his case for grant of parole for 15 days”.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, on the next day, September 11, 2009 wrote on the file, “It would be right to cut down his request for three months to one month.” The file was received by the Lt. Governor on the same day.
Based on these recommendations, the Lt. Governor ordered a one month parole on September 18, 2009.
Manu Sharma again approached the Delhi government with a request to extend his parole by another month on October 7, 2009 which was processed within 14 days.
On October 21, 2009 the extension of parole was granted by the Lt. Governor “to attend his business and related activities”.
The Delhi High Court had also come down heavily on the government for granting with “utmost speed” parole to Manu Sharma and giving preferential treatment to convicts having high connections.
Justice Kailash Gambhir had said that in normal cases the government takes three to six months to decide the parole application of a convict but in case of Manu Sharma it disposed of his plea within 20 days.
Manu Sharma is serving life sentence at the Tihar jail for killing model Jessica Lal by shooting her on the night of April 29, 1999 at the Tamarind Court Bar owned by socialite Bina Ramani.
He returned to the Tihar jail on his own 12 days before his parole was to expire following mounting criticism that he violated norms under which he was granted the parole.