The Supreme Court on Friday posted for final hearing on January 19 an appeal filed by Manu Sharma, son of senior Congress leader Vinod Sharma, sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1999 Jessica Lal murder case.

The court having rejected his bail application, Manu Sharma is now in jail, pending disposal of the appeal.

Justices P. Sathasivam and H.L. Dattu were on a Bench before whom senior counsel Ram Jethmalani pleaded that Manu Sharma’s appeal, against the Delhi High Court order, be heard.

The prosecution case is that Jessica Lal was shot dead on the intervening night of April 29 and 30, 1999 at a party at Qutub Colonnade restaurant in south Delhi. On February 21, 2006, the trial court acquitted all the nine accused, saying there was lack of evidence. However, the High Court reversed the acquittal on December 20 the same year and awarded life term to Manu Sharma.

Elaborate trial

In his appeal, Manu Sharma said that after an elaborate trial and appreciating oral and documentary evidence, the trial court acquitted him. He alleged that he did not get a fair trial in the High Court because of media pressure.

Manu Sharma argued that the High Court had misinterpreted facts and evidence: for instance, Bina Ramani — though not an eyewitness even according to the prosecution — was treated as one. Relying on her testimony, the High Court erred, holding that the appellant fired both shots.

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