New Delhi, April 24: Tihar Jail officials on Monday said that the fate of convicted Manu Sharma will be decided by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and not Sabrina Lall, Jessica’s sister, after she wrote a letter to the jail authorities stating that she had forgiven her sister’s killer and had no qualms if Sharma was released. Jail authorities said that the L-G will decide upon Sharma’s fate once the jail’s Sentence Review Board (SRB) submitted a report.

The response from the jail authorities came after Sabrina Lall wrote a letter, a month ago to the Prison Welfare Officer that she had no objection if her sister’s killer Manu Sharma was released. Lall said that she wanted to move ahead and live a normal life. She added that she wrote a letter after she received from the jail authorities asking if she wanted to withdraw money from the victim’s welfare fund. To this she wrote back saying that neither did she require the money nor she had objections to Sharma’s release.

However, a jail official said that Sabrina Lall’s letter of forgiveness cannot decide Manu Sharma’s fate. It is only the L-G who’d decide the releasing of Manu Sharma. Sharma, whose name would be sent to the SRB later this month would be among 50 odd prisoners. An eight-member team of the SRB headed by minister Satyendar Jain will examine these prisoner’s cases and it is then a report will be sent to the L-G. The L-G thereafter will decide likewise. Jail authorities said that Manu Sharma who is serving a life-imprisonment term has sought a premature release as the Delhi government rules permit a murder convict undergoing a life sentence to approach a review board to seek an early release. However, a prisoner can only apply for the same after he has served a term of at least 14 years without remission or more, depending upon the case.

Reacting to Manu Sharma’s release, Neelam Katara, mother of Nitish Katara (from the infamous Nitish Katara murder case) and families of Uphaar tragedy victims said letting Manu Sharma off would set a bad example. She added that Sharma’s imprisonment had given hope to many families who still haven’t got justice in their own respective cases.

Meanwhile, jail authorities said that Manu Sharma had been working and helping inmates all through these 15 years of imprisonment and was hence shifted to an open prison three months ago, in which prisoners are allowed to go out for work. They added that this move may allow him to seek a premature release.

Manu Sharma got sentenced to life term in 2006 after he fatally shot Jessica Lall when she refused to serve him drink well past midnight at a party in south Delhi’s Mehrauli in April 1999. Manu Sharma is the son of former Union minister and Congress leader Venod Sharma.