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Jessica Lall case: SC upholds Delhi High Court verdict on Manu Sharma

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the verdict given by the Delhi High Court in the model Jessica Lall murder case, convicting prime accused Manu Sharma to life imprisonment.

On February 8, a bench of the apex court consisting Justices P. Sathasivam and Swantanter Kumar had reserved its verdict for April 19.

Lall was shot dead by Manu Sharma at the Tamarind Court Cafe restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani in South Delhi on April 29, 1999.

On December 18, 2006, reversing the order of acquittal recorded by the trial court, the Delhi High Court convicted Sharma and awarded him a life sentence.

The High Court also declared two other accused in the case — Vikas Yadav and Amarjeet Singh Gill — guilty for destruction of evidence.

They have also challenged their conviction and four-year jail sentence.

Sharma is the son of senior Haryana Congress leader Vinod Sharma while Yadav is the son of Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav.

Earlier, on February 21, 2006, the trial court verdict had acquitted Sharma.

Sharma had challenged the conviction in the apex court.

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, Jethmalani alleged that from everyday hearing, it was clear that the bench was going to reverse the acquittal by the trial court.

The High Court judgment was ‘nothing but perverse” and every finding of the trial court was rejected, he said.

Appearing for the Delhi Government, Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam, justified the conviction and submitted that there was sufficient evidence to convict and sentence Sharma to a life term.

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