Jessica Lal murder case convict Manu Sharma released from Tihar Jail

New Delhi, Jun 2 (PTI) Manu Sharma, who was serving a life term in the sensational 1999 Jessica Lal Murder case, was released from Tihar Jail on Monday after Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal approved his premature release, Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Geol said on Tuesday.

Baijal approved the release of Sharma, son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, on a recommendation by the Delhi Sentence Review Board (DSRB), which is under the Delhi Government, according to officials.

On May 28, the Delhi Home Department had issued an order for premature release of 19 convicts, including Sharma's, they said.

'Sharma walked out of jail on Monday. He spent 17 years behind bars. His actual period with remission is 23 years and four months,' Goel said.

Sharma was convicted in 2006 for shooting model Jessica Lal after she refused to serve him liquor at the Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi's Mehrauli area on the night of April 30, 1999.

A trial court had acquitted Sharma of the murder, but the high court, which undertook the case amid nationwide outrage and protests, reversed the trial court decision and sentenced him to a life term.

The Supreme Court in 2010 upheld the life sentence.

'Manu Sharma was on parole since the first week of April. He was released from Tihar Jail on Monday,' his lawyer Amit Sahni said.

According to the DSRB, Manu Sharma had availed parole 12 times and furlough 24 times.

Sahni said Sharma''s conduct has been good throughout the jail period, and claimed that he was eligible for premature release.

Meanwhile, Women rights activists have called 'unfortunate' the decision to prematurely release Sharma, saying it sets a wrong precedent.

Calling the release 'shocking and bizarre', Women's rights activist Shamina Shafiq said,'already the country has been dealing with so much as far as crimes against women are concerned. For Nirbhaya, it took so many years of turmoil to get justice for the family. We see one more person walking scott free...' PTI AMP BUN UZM PYK PYK