The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Monday in the Jessica Lal murder case in which the prime accused Manu Sharma has been convicted and awarded life sentence by the Delhi High Court.
A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Swantanter Kumar had reserved its verdict on February 8. The High Court had reversed the order of acquittal recorded by the trial court and awarded life imprisonment. Manu Sharma had challenged the conviction.
Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Sharma, had argued that the judgment was pre-determined to hold the appellant guilty as one of the judges refused to withdraw from the Bench. Narrating the sequence of events, Mr. Jethmalani alleged that from everyday hearing it was clear that the Bench was going to reverse the acquittal by the trial court.
He described as a farce an identification parade, as Sharma's photograph was already published in all newspapers. The High Court judgment was ‘nothing but perverse' and every finding of the trial court was rejected, he said.
Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the Delhi government, had justified the conviction and had submitted that there was sufficient evidence against Sharma for his involvement in the crime.
The prosecution had said model and socialite Jessica Lal was shot dead by Sharma at the Tamarind Court Cafe restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonade in South Delhi on April 29, 1999.
The trial court verdict acquitting Sharma on February 21, 2006, was set aside by the High Court on December 18, 2006.
The High Court had held guilty two other accused in the case — Vikas Yadav and Amarjeet Singh Gill — for destruction of evidence. They have also challenged their conviction and four-year jail sentence.
Manu Sharma is the son of senior Haryana Congress leader Vinod Sharma while Yadav is the son of Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav.