The Washington Post

Jessica Lall’s killer: Despite murder, he can dance at his brother’s wedding

Former model Jessica Lall, who was shot dead while working at an upscale New Delhi bar in 1999, is seen in this undated photo. (AP)

But, sometimes, murder doesn’t equal jail time.

Manu Sharma, the son of an influential politician, was convicted in 2006 of murdering Lall. But it is proving hard to keep him behind bars. This week he was granted parole for a second time, despite violating the terms of his last parole, Indian media reported.

Sharma’s case has been dogged by controversy since it began. Despite the presence of many witnesses, he was first acquitted of the 1999 murder of Jessica Lall, but a national outcry forced a retrial in 2006.

The case has been widely viewed in India as a classic example of how the rich and powerful are effectively above the law.

In 2009, a court let Sharma out on an extended two-month parole to be with his sick mother and attend his grandmother’s last rites. He was later caught partying and brawling at an expensive Delhi nightclub, while his mother attended a social event in another city. After another media outcry, he chose to return to jail two weeks early.

This week Sharma was again granted parole, this time to attend the wedding of his younger brother Kartik, a hotelier who also owns a television news channel. He will get out on Nov. 21, on the condition that he stays away from bars and nightclubs, and only stays in the towns in northern India where the marriage ceremonies will take place.

“For all these years you have not reformed: you went to a nightclub and got into a brawl,” Justice VK Shali told him, before agreeing to let him out, to the shock of the victim’s family, the Hindustan Times reported.

“My sister can never come back to attend any family function, so why should her killer,” said Jessica’s sister Sabrina Lall. “We know what he did last time …. I am surprised how he manages to get parole again and again.”

Simon Denyer is The Post’s bureau chief in China. He served previously as bureau chief in India and as a Reuters bureau chief in Washington, India and Pakistan.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Making family dinnertime happen
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
Play Videos
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Learn to make this twice-baked cookie
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
Play Videos
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
The art of tortilla-making
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
Cool off with sno-balls, a New Orleans treat