Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Congress leader's son Manu Sharma brought to justice for Jessica Lal murder


If your father is a Congress leader, you can get away with Murder.

Or so Manu Sharma had thought. And so it would have been, if the People of India had not stood up as one and made themselves heard. And finally, after a long 7 years of valiant fighting against the high and mighty criminals ruling India, Justice had been served.

Earlier this year, corrupt Congress leader Vinod Sharma's murderer son Manu Sharma and his accomplices were acquitted and set free by additional sessions judge S. L. Bhayana.

Manu Sharma had been seen by numerous eye-witnesses in the act of killing a 30-year old model Jessica Lal, who had been working hard to support her middle class family and had simply wanted to earn some extra money working as a waitress at a high-society party at a fashionable restaurant in Delhi in 1999.

The useless good-for-nothing brat Manu Sharma -- who is not only of no use to society and passes his time drinking womanizing and gambling and generally pissing away the hard-earned money of the Indian common people stolen by his Congress-leader Dad Vinod Sharma -- but also so useless as to be unable to hold his bloody drink and behave better than a drunken chimpanzee on steroids, got raving drunk at the party, started a drunken argument with Jessica, and then when she refused to serve him even more drinks, shot her dead at point-blank range.

Over the next seven years, from 1999 to 2006, his father Vinod Sharma and his powerful and corrupt friends in the ruling Congress Party misused money, muscle power, and connections with the high and mighty to threaten and tempt the eye-witnesses to retract their statements against murderer Manu Sharma and his murder-accomplice friends. Only a few people, like witness Deepak Bhowani, refused to bow down to the threats, nor be swayed by promises of money.

These witnesses risked their lives to speak the Truth, uphold Justice, and send the stupid drunk murderous chimpanzee to jail where he belongs.

Then Justice S. L. Bhayana stepped in to the rescue. Justice Bhayana, for reasons best known to himself and his co-conspirators (no offence to the esteemed Judiciary of India is intended), decided to simply discard the testimony of the only remaining eye-witness Deepak Bhowani. As a result, the criminals went scot-free.

The message was clear: if your father is a Congress leader, you can get away with Murder.

This led to a massive public outcry all over India, and the case was re-opened by honest Judges. They lambasted Justice Bhayana's conduct as "strange", "totally wrong", "immature", "positively perverse", and said that it not only "reflects total lack of application of mind" but also "suggests a hasty approach towards securing a particular end, namely the acquittals."

Deepak Bhowani deserves an award for his bravery in upholding the cause of Justice.

The accomplices of Vinod Sharma who misused their power to try to subvert Justice deserve the most stringent punishment.

The first targets should be Vinod Sharma himself, and the good-for-nothing Judge S. L. Bhayana who almost got away with letting the murderers go scot-free (no insult or contempt or offence or any negative feeling or opinion or implication whatsoever is intended towards the highly esteemed Judiciary of India).

To uphold the trust and respect that the Judiciary of India deserves and gets from the People of India, exemplary punishment should be handed out to Justice S. L. Bhayana for his obvious participation in a deep criminal conspiracy to let the murderers go scot-free.

BBC reports:
Guilty verdict over model murder
Jessica Lal
Eyewitnesses said Ms Lal was shot for refusing to serve a drink
A court in India has found the son of a governing Congress party politician guilty of murdering a model in 1999.

Manu Sharma, son of former federal minister Venod Sharma, was convicted of shooting Jessica Lal dead at a fashionable restaurant in the capital.

The case was reopened after he and eight others were acquitted in February, prompting a public outcry.

Campaigners say media pressure mounted over the case has encouraged the courts to take on India's rich and powerful.

'Conspiracy'

Prosecutors said Manu Sharma fired at Jessica Lal after she refused to serve him a drink at the restaurant where she was working as a waitress.

We have no hesitation in holding Sidharth Vashisht, alias Manu Sharma, guilty of the offence of murder
Delhi high court judges

Several eyewitnesses came forward to the police, but by the time the case came to trial seven years later key eyewitnesses had retracted their statements.

The trial finally collapsed in February 2006 when the lower court judge said the prosecution's case contained loopholes and there was insufficient evidence to convict.

The acquittals sparked public outrage, with protest rallies and a sustained media campaign launched to demand justice for Jessica Lal, who was 34 when she was killed.

Police appealed against the acquittals and opened an investigation into allegations that there had been a conspiracy to pervert justice.

Manu Sharma, convicted of murdering Jessica Lal
Sharma has still to be sentenced

Several witnesses and police officials involved in the case were questioned.

Delivering their verdict on Monday, two high court judges in the capital said: "We have no hesitation in holding Sidharth Vashisht, alias Manu Sharma, guilty of the offence of murder."

Sharma will be sentenced later this week.

Jessica Lal's sister, Sabrina, told the BBC: "We feel vindicated. It's a big day for us.

"My basic aim in life was that Manu Sharma should be convicted, people should acknowledge the fact that he killed my sister and that's happened today."

Landmark campaign

Campaigners say this was the latest in a long line of cases where members of India's elite had been able to manipulate the law and get away with murder.

But the pressure mounted over the Jessica Lal case is seen as a turning point in efforts to bring the rich to justice.

After the February acquittals there was a huge outcry in the Indian media and students led candlelight vigils in Delhi to demand justice for the murdered model.

Observers say the case encouraged sustained media campaigns and public protests which have resulted in other cases being reopened and convictions secured.

In October, the son of a former senior policeman was convicted of raping and murdering Delhi student Priyardishini Mattoo in 1996.

Earlier this month, former Indian cricketer Navjot Sidhu was sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter after beating a man in a dispute over a parking space.

His acquittal, too, was overturned on appeal.



Times of India reports:

At last, justice for Jessica
Rahul Chhabra & Abhinav Garg
[19 Dec, 2006 0122hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK]

Someone did kill Jessica Lall, after all. And it was, as all of us had suspected, Manu Sharma, the son of an influential politician, who almost got away by threatening or paying off witnesses, leaving the country in shocked outrage.

Exactly 300 days after Manu and his friends were allowed to walk free by the trial court of S L Bhayana, the Delhi High Court on Monday convicted Manu for murdering Jessica. He is back in Tihar Jail after a lapse of almost five years. Manu will receive his sentence on Wednesday - it'll either be death or a minimum of a life term.

Justice and truth have finally prevailed. Conviction of the killer in this sensational case - which brought out thousands of people on the streets to protest against Manu's acquittal, with candlelight vigils and silent marches - has restored the faith in the people about the rule of law. Even people with awesome clout have to pay for their crime.

"My father died waiting to hear this verdict," said Jessica's sister Sabrina Lall. "His soul will now be able to rest in peace." Sabrina also thanked the media: "I thank you guys who started the campaign for justice for Jessica."

'Justice for Jessica', as our readers will recall, was a TOI campaign. She also sought life sentence for Manu, not death. The outrage over Jessica also brought the spotlight on two other sensational murders - that of Priyadarshini Mattoo and Nitish Katara.

Coming to Monday's dramatic verdict, a bench comprising Justices R S Sodhi and P K Bhasin also convicted Vikas Yadav, son of "tainted" ex-MP D P Yadav, and former cola company executive Amardeep Singh Gill for conspiring with Manu to destroy evidence of his presence at the crime scene.

Yadav and Gill were found to have returned to the restaurant after Jessica's murder on the night of April 29, 1999 to take away Manu's Tata Safari. They are liable to get a maximum sentence of seven years.


Times of India reports:

HC lambasts judge Bhayana
Ananthakrishnan G
[19 Dec, 2006 0115hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK]

NEW DELHI: While reversing the acquittal of Manu Sharma, the Delhi High Court on Monday questioned the bona fides of the trial court verdict delivered by S L Bhayana, who is now himself a judge of the high court.

The high court held that Bhayana's decision to discard the testimony of prosecution witness Deepak Bhowani not only "reflects total lack of application of mind" but also "suggests a hasty approach towards securing a particular end, namely the acquittals."


And if that wasn't enough, there was a liberal sprinkling of adjectives like "strange", "totally wrong", "immature" and "positively perverse" in the high court order as it punched more holes in additional sessions judge S L Bhayana's verdict setting the accused free.



Times of India reports:

Will judge Bhayana be confirmed now ?
Manoj Mitta
[20 Dec, 2006 0152hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK]

NEW DELHI: The strictures passed on Justice S L Bhayana by the Delhi High Court in the Jessica Lall case have put the Prime Minister's Office in a bind. For, they have come just when PMO is processing a recommendation to confirm Justice Bhayana as a "permanent judge" of the high court.

He has been on probation ever since he was sworn in as an "additional judge" of the high court on February 28, a week after he had, as a trial court judge, acquitted Manu Sharma and the other eight accused in the Jessica Lall case.

The verdict caused an outrage, leading to a prosecution appeal. In the meantime, a high court collegium recommended his confirmation even as his judgment in the Jessica case was being unravelled before a bench of the same court, headed by Justice R S Sodhi, hearing the prosecution's appeal on a priority basis.

In November, the then acting chief of the high court, Justice Vijender Jain, forwarded the collegium's recommendation to the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, endorsed the proposal of confirming Justice Bhayana along with other additional judges of the high court.

The file moved from the apex court to the law ministry and from there to the PMO. If the government decides to proceed with the matter now, the next step is for the President to sign a warrant of appointment confirming him as a permanent judge of the high court.

In his judgment, Justice Sodhi described Justice Bhayana's reasoning for acquitting Manu Sharma as "strange", "totally wrong", "immature" and "positively perverse". He also questioned the bona fides of his judgment saying it "suggests a hasty approach towards securing a particular end, namely, the acquittals".



3 Comments:

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any moral member of our society would surely feel anger at Jessica's murderers aquittal by the lower court. Thus their subsequent conviction by the Delhi HC would bring cheer and faith in the system. But here i would disagree with you and many other laymen, who leave alone know the law but have not even read the newspapers with their minds working.
The reason that I believe that the trial court correctly aquitted Manu and Delhi HC judges have erred in the conviction is clearly apparent in the media reporting as well. Here we go. 100 witnesses and 3 witnesses turned hostile, murder weapon not recovered, Bina Ramani disposed off Jessica's clothes and wiped off her blood, Police manipulated the ballistic reports. Now you tell me, how can a judge convict in such a case. Also when we talk about a judge being pro-active, let us keep in mind my friend that Zaheera Sheikh is a stand alone case where a witness lying has been brought to book and that too by the SC. How can a lower court judge be expected to prevent a witness from lying in absence of any anti-perjury law. A judge can not legally do it. One more thing to see in Jessica's case is that in 8 years, 7 judges recorded the witnesses testimonies as well as the evidence. But none of them checked witnesses turning hostile as they could not do it legally. None of them gave the judgment either, because they feared the media backlash which we are currently witnessing. 6 of them went on to become judges in Delhi HC. Then 1 honest and upright judge (which can be judged from his track record or inteacting with any lawyer who has appeared in his court. This is what i did) heard the case for close to year. He must have been preparing the judgment for 2-3 months (which once again you can make out as it is a very detailed and elaborate 400 page judgment. You compare it with a short and shoddy 36 page report of the Delhi HC judges who overturned the lower court's judgemt). As the elevation process for HC judge takes a long time, close to a year (as reported in the newspapers), it merely coincided with his delivering the judgment. If he had not delivered the judgment, the case would have remained pending for 10 or more years as no ordinary judge would have the guts to decide this case.
Now we can see why the Delhi HC judges erred. It appears to me that in wake of media outrage, the HC judges convicted Manu Sharma just to earn a name and get praised nationally (Also Santosh Singh in Priyadarshni Matoo case, once again when he was aquitted by the lower court as there was no evidence nor any witnesses). Regarding how they erred, is apparent to any dimwit also. They have treated Bina Ramani as an eyewitness when she herself said that she did not see the crime being commited. She just said that she saw a man resembling Manu running from the scene of crime and she thinks he muredered Jessica. As you can see, her statement is very vague and inconclusive. On top of it she has been changing her statements from time to time. How can a court take such an unreliable person as an eyewitness and convict a person for murder. Also, it appears that Delhi Police, under fire for aquittal of Manu Sharma stuck a deal with Bina, not to press charges against her for destruction of evidence provided she change her statement slightly in the HC. Tomorrow, if she says she saw a person resembling you running and she thinks you murdered Jessica, should you be convicted for Jessica's murder. Just think about it. This judgment is a mockery of a constitutional authority i.e. the HC. Just imagine a realistic scenario of the judgment being reversed by the SC. What message will it give to the general public and what will it do to their faith. It is high time we brought in changes in the law like anti-perjury laws, witness protection program rather than just getting promises for the same. Just for reference, last year Sonia Gandhi & Manmohan Singh promised these laws in the wake of Jessica Lall case judgment. It has been one year but not even a draft has been introduced. Need i say more?

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Harsh,
Any moral member of our society would surely feel anger at Jessica's murderers aquittal by the lower court. Thus their subsequent conviction by the Delhi HC would bring cheer and faith in the system. But here i would disagree with you and many other laymen, who leave alone know the law but have not even read the newspapers with their minds working.
The reason that I believe that the trial court correctly aquitted Manu and Delhi HC judges have erred in the conviction is clearly apparent in the media reporting as well. Here we go. 100 witnesses and 3 witnesses turned hostile, murder weapon not recovered, Bina Ramani disposed off Jessica's clothes and wiped off her blood, Police manipulated the ballistic reports. Now you tell me, how can a judge convict in such a case. Also when we talk about a judge being pro-active, let us keep in mind my friend that Zaheera Sheikh is a stand alone case where a witness lying has been brought to book and that too by the SC. How can a lower court judge be expected to prevent a witness from lying in absence of any anti-perjury law. A judge can not legally do it. One more thing to see in Jessica's case is that in 8 years, 7 judges recorded the witnesses testimonies as well as the evidence. But none of them checked witnesses turning hostile as they could not do it legally. None of them gave the judgment either, because they feared the media backlash which we are currently witnessing. 6 of them went on to become judges in Delhi HC. Then 1 honest and upright judge (which can be judged from his track record or inteacting with any lawyer who has appeared in his court. This is what i did) heard the case for close to year. He must have been preparing the judgment for 2-3 months (which once again you can make out as it is a very detailed and elaborate 400 page judgment. You compare it with a short and shoddy 36 page report of the Delhi HC judges who overturned the lower court's judgemt). As the elevation process for HC judge takes a long time, close to a year (as reported in the newspapers), it merely coincided with his delivering the judgment. If he had not delivered the judgment, the case would have remained pending for 10 or more years as no ordinary judge would have the guts to decide this case.
Now we can see why the Delhi HC judges erred. It appears to me that in wake of media outrage, the HC judges convicted Manu Sharma just to earn a name and get praised nationally (Also Santosh Singh in Priyadarshni Matoo case, once again when he was aquitted by the lower court as there was no evidence nor any witnesses). Regarding how they erred, is apparent to any dimwit also. They have treated Bina Ramani as an eyewitness when she herself said that she did not see the crime being commited. She just said that she saw a man resembling Manu running from the scene of crime and she thinks he muredered Jessica. As you can see, her statement is very vague and inconclusive. On top of it she has been changing her statements from time to time. How can a court take such an unreliable person as an eyewitness and convict a person for murder. Also, it appears that Delhi Police, under fire for aquittal of Manu Sharma stuck a deal with Bina, not to press charges against her for destruction of evidence provided she change her statement slightly in the HC. Tomorrow, if she says she saw a person resembling you running and she thinks you murdered Jessica, should you be convicted for Jessica's murder. Just think about it. This judgment is a mockery of a constitutional authority i.e. the HC. Just imagine a realistic scenario of the judgment being reversed by the SC. What message will it give to the general public and what will it do to their faith. It is high time we brought in changes in the law like anti-perjury laws, witness protection program rather than just getting promises for the same. Just for reference, last year Sonia Gandhi & Manmohan Singh promised these laws in the wake of Jessica Lall case judgment. It has been one year but not even a draft has been introduced. Need i say more?

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Harsh Vardhan said...

Thanks for your comment.

Contrary to what you say, even in case the murder weapon is not recovered, and blood is wiped away, etc., the murderer can be convicted on evidence given by eye-witnesses, as has happened in this case.

Manu Sharma is not an ordinary person like me. He is the good-for-nothing son of a powerful and corrupt Congress leader who has misused power for the last decade to terrorize witnesses against his son in this case.

Manu Sharma deserves death for what he has done. Justice will be served in his death.

 

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